Roberto Merhi has emerged as the prime candidate for the second Manor seat, despite the Spaniard having recently agreed a deal with Pons Racing for the Renault 3.5 series.
It’s understood that Manor has applied for a Superlicence for Merhi. He took part in FP1 for Caterham at Monza, Sochi and Suzuka last year, but at that stage had only been granted a licence for Friday running.
The 23-year-old has a solid record, having won the Euro F3 title in 2011, before moving to DTM. He was third in last year’s Renault series.
It remains to be seen whether his deal covers only the early races, or if he is giving up the Renault 3.5 seat. The Renault series does not kick off until April 25-26, and there are few clashes.
Merhi is managed by former F1 driver Mark Blundell.