Newly crowned F3 Euroseries champion Roberto Merhi will test Mercedes' new DTM machine later this year as part of the Mercedes Young Driver Development following a successful season resulting in the Spaniard clinching the F3 Euroseries title with a round to spare in Valencia.
Merhi, 20, who drove for Prema Powerteam this season, has been part of the Mercedes family since being signed by HWA in 2008.
Mercedes pride themselves upon their Young Driver Development programme, and rightly so with the results and heritage it has produced. No less than one third of this season's Formula 1 grid is made of drivers who learnt their trade in F3 with Mercedes powered engines. These include world champions Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton along with former DTM champion Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil, Sebastian Buemi, Kamui Kobayashi, Jaime Algesuari and Bruno Senna.
This is something Merhi is fully aware of.
"Being asked to test for DTM in the new AMG Mercedes C-Coupé is the icing on the cake after winning the Formula 3 Euro Series championship title," he said. "It's a great honour for me to follow in the footsteps of such successful drivers as Lewis Hamilton, Jamie Green and Paul Di Resta, who all won the Formula 3 Euro Series title with Mercedes-Benz in recent years and then went on to compete in Formula One or DTM."
Merhi, was already regarded as an exceptional future talent before his F3 Euroseries championship success after he became the first Spaniard to win a race in the series prior to his championship.
Vice President of Mercedes Motorsport Norbert clearly holds Roberto in high regard, indicating that this young driver has a bright future in front of him.
"Roberto Merhi is an exceptional talent, and his title win in the Formula 3 Euro Series 2011 will be an important milestone in the international racing career he has ahead of him," he said.
"We will continue to work with Roberto Merhi and his test in the next-generation DTM C-Coupé is a further step in his career. Congratulations, Roberto, on a first-class season."
Haug also paid testament to Prema Powerteam who play an integral part in overseeing and nurturing the drivers during their development.
"Congratulations also to our partner team Prema," he said. "Without perfect teamwork in Formula 3, there can be no perfect results. In 2011, Roberto Merhi and Prema delivered these in abundance - and in convincing style."
by Simon Evans