Merhi pushing hard to keep Manor seat

Roberto Merhi (ESP) Manor Marussia F1 Team.

Spanish rookie Roberto Merhi is pushing hard to keep his place at the Manor team.

Until now, the former Marussia outfit has been extending a race-by-race deal with the Merhi, as it leaves an inviting door open to a sponsored driver.

Indeed, joining the team in Canada this weekend is Manor’s brand new reserve Fabio Leimer, the GP2 champion of 2013.

The Swiss driver’s manager Sven Mangold on Friday said he is working “day and night” to find sponsors to back Leimer’s push for a race seat.

But at the same time, Merhi is looking to press his claim on the seat he has occupied in 2015 to date.

He has apparently struggled for much of the season to match teammate Will Stevens’ pace.

But the Spanish sports daily Marca quoted him as saying on Friday that he is feeling more and more comfortable.

“It’s a bit of everything,” said Merhi. “It’s the setup, I feel more confident and I can push a little more.

“Also, the team has worked very well on my car to offset the difference in speed that Stevens had in his favour in the earlier grands prix.”

It is believed Merhi, who has reportedly lost some of his earlier 76 kilograms, is referring to the significant height and therefore weight difference to the diminutive Stevens.

“Now there is less of an advantage (for Stevens) and we see some mistakes,” Merhi said after Friday practice in Canada.