Ex-F1 driver Roberto Merhi completes 2018 F2 grid

MP Motorsport has confirmed that ex-Manor Marussia driver Roberto Merhi will compete for the team in Formula 2 this weekend, completing the series’ 2018 line-up.

DAMS announced on Wednesday morning that Force India tester Nicholas Latifi and Alexander Albon will form its driver pairing, leaving only one vacancy at MP Motorsport.

That has now duly been filled by Merhi, who ran during pre-season testing for the Dutch operation in France and Bahrain.

Merhi’s presence on the grid has not yet been confirmed beyond this weekend’s opening round in Bahrain, the first of 12 stops on the 2018 calendar.

Merhi started 13 Grands Prix for backmarkers Manor Marussia in Formula 1 in 2015, since when he has made sporadic outings in sportscars and Formula 2.

Merhi took a best result of fifth last season during his brief stint with Rapax, having also appeared at one event for Campos.

Official Confirmation of the Spaniard on the grid means that all 20 seats are now occupied.

Russian Time will field 2017 runner-up and F2/GP2 veteran Artem Markelov alongside Honda-backed F3 convert Tadasuke Makino.

Sean Gelael, who made a handful of test and practice outings with Toro Rosso last year, has switched to Prema, with sophomore Nyck de Vries (McLaren junior) set for the No. 4 car.

ART will field two rookies in the form of last year’s GP3 top two: Mercedes F1 reserve George Russell and his Renault counterpart Jack Aitken, while Ralph Boschung has switched from Campos to MP Motorsport as team-mate to Merhi.

As in Formula 1 with Force India, BWT’s distinctive pink livery will be on the grid through a tie-up with Arden, which will field Maximilian Gunther and Honda protégé Nirei Fukuzumi, third in F3 and GP3 respectively last season.

Campos will run third-season driver Luca Ghiotto and Formula V8 3.5 convert Roy Nissany, while Haas development drivers Arjun Maini and Santino Ferrucci pair up at Trident.

McLaren F1 reserve and reigning F3 champion Lando Norris remains with Carlin as he graduates to Formula 2, and his team-mate will be Sergio Sette Camara.

New team Charouz completes the grid with Louis Deletraz and long-term Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco.