May 10 (GMM) Roberto Merhi has arguably the least enviable job in all of formula one — the slowest driver at the wheel of the slowest car.
So slow is the Spaniard’s Manor in Barcelona that he would also have qualified dead last for the this weekend’s GP2 race on the very same circuit.
“It’s not easy,” the rookie confirmed to Spanish reporters at his home race.
“You cannot go as fast in the corners as you would like, so you have to adapt to that. No — it’s not easy,” Merhi repeated.
For some, the fact the entire GP2 field – even the backmarkers – are faster than Merhi is a sure sign that formula one as a whole needs to speed up.
Bernie Ecclestone urgently wants the cars to be louder, more powerful and harder to drive, but F1 legend Gerhard Berger said even the F1 supremo’s hands are tied.
Next week, the Strategy Group will meet at Ecclestone’s Biggin Hill airport facility to discuss making changes to the rules, but Berger is not confident.
“They are never able to agree,” he told Austria’s APA news agency, “because everyone only fights for their own interests.
“But the sport and the fans are screaming for improvements. Formula one needs to be run by a professional dictator,” Berger argued.
The Strategy Group does include the big teams, Ecclestone and the FIA, but Berger says it is still unlikely to be able to agree a direction for the future.
“It’s been a long time since a decent decision has come out of a meeting,” said the Austrian, who is close to Red Bull’s dissatisfied team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
“Someone needs to make the decisions. Bernie has done a very good job in the past — he needs to try to get it back in his hands,” Berger insisted.
He also points the finger at F1’s governing body, led by FIA president Jean Todt, for contributing to the predicament Red Bull finds itself in.
The former title-winning team is now struggling with Renault power and “The tragedy is that (Red Bull) has no real alternative”.
But he said the FIA has a duty to “ensure that teams can be equipped with competitive engines. Otherwise it makes no sense for them”.