Roberto Merhi has felt the full force of the stewards' wrath after the last lap crash that brought race one of the Formula Renault 3.5 weekend to a dramatic conclusion at the Red Bull Ring.

The Manor F1 racer, already facing a ten-second time penalty for exceeding track limits, slowed as he crossed the start-finish line, leaving the unsighted Nicolas Latifi with little time to take avoiding action as he raced to the flag with Tom Dillmann.

The Canadian threw his car broadside as he caught Merhi, but contact between the two was inevitable and the Arden machine was tipped into a spin that took Latifi to the outside verge. Merhi's Pons car was spun into the pit wall in the incident but, miraculously, both drivers were able to climb unaiden from their respective wrecks.

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Although they appeared amicable as they shook hands on the way back to the paddock, race stewards took a dim view of Merhi's actions, not only excluding him from the results of race one, but also excluding him race two several hours before the field was due to take to the grid.

Merhi was to have started second in race two, and his absence will now open up a space on the grid for row two starters Oliver Rowland and Nyck de Vries to challenge polesitter Matthieu Vaxiviere.