Mahindra and Rowland came to a “mutual agreement” to part ways final week, one-and-a-half years after the British driver joined the squad for the ultimate Gen2 season in 2022.
It left Mahindra in a rush to search for a substitute, with former Method 1 driver Merhi ultimately chosen to take his place on the workforce for this weekend’s double header in Indonesia.
The Spaniard began 13 F1 races for Manor in 2015 and scored a greatest end of twelfth on the British Grand Prix. He has since made three Le Mans 24 Hours begins and raced in Tremendous GT.
Bertrand revealed that Mahindra thought-about numerous drivers for the seat alongside Lucas di Grassi, together with reserve driver Jehan Daruvala and growth driver Jordan King, earlier than ultimately deciding in favour of 32-year-old Merhi.
All three drivers had taken half within the Berlin rookie check on the finish of April, giving Mahindra an opportunity to instantly evaluate their efficiency.
Whereas Daruvala’s nationality could have been an interesting possibility for the Indian squad, his Method 2 commitments with MP Motorsport meant he was unable to step in on the final second.
“There have been a number of choices on the desk,” Bertrand advised Autosport.
“I might not say there was one A, B, C, there have been a number of on the desk and sadly some choices closed by themselves. Jehan was busy with F2, some weren’t essentially unavailable.
“On high, Roberto did a great check in Berlin and we expect that he had the nice background, the nice behaviour, the nice spirit, he’s very motivated.
“So for us it is also a little bit of contemporary air into the system to have totally different views and somebody becoming a member of the workforce and bringing his personal method of being, which corresponds a bit to the way in which we want, joyful and quick.
Oliver Rowland, Mahindra Racing, Mahindra M9Electro
Picture by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images
“He’s increase proper now however that is how the selection got here. There was clearly the Jehan possibility however he was busy after which we had the second possibility was the 2 drivers who examined with us in Berlin.
“Few others had been additionally on the desk however it was making sense to go on with one of many two testing and Roberto has been the one chosen.”
Mahindra didn’t supply an evidence as to why it got here to an settlement with Rowland to finish their contract early when it made the shock announcement final Sunday.
One-time E-Prix winner Rowland had scored factors in simply two of the primary 9 races of 2023 with an M9Electro package deal that was among the many weakest on the grid. The British driver additionally suffered a bruised hand that required a hospital go to following an incident on the earlier spherical in Monaco.
Requested to supply a cause behind the cut up, given how uncommon it’s for a workforce to half methods with a driver mid-season, Bertrand mentioned: “I am not so positive it’s particular to be sincere. It is extra in the identical goal that the one now we have.
“We discovered a standard settlement with Ollie. We discovered it was higher at the moment of the yr to take a little bit of time to suppose and that is what we agreed.”
Merhi excited after last-minute call-up
Merhi acquired a name from Mahindra late on Saturday evening about Jakarta, only a day earlier than the workforce formally introduced that he has been signed to take the place of Rowland.
A fast go to to Mahindra’s workshop in Banbury adopted, the place he spent a while on the workforce’s simulator to organize himself for his FE debut.
“I’m very excited to be sincere. First time to race in Method E, actually wanting ahead to it,” Merhi advised Autosport.
Roberto Merhi, Mahindra Racing
Picture by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
“I had no time [to prepare properly. Saturday night I got the call. Then Sunday I had to fly to England and Monday I have been doing the simulator with the team. That has been very positive.
“But at the end of the day it’s a simulator, it’s not the same as the real [thing].
“I hope that preparation helps me a bit and I can translate it into the automotive and all what my engineers and the workforce has advised me, that I can do it. Let’s have a look at if I’m able to.”
Merhi is at present locked in just for Jakarta, with Mahindra but to decide as to who will drive within the ultimate 5 races of the season throughout Portland, Rome and London.