Roberto Merhi has criticised the decision to throw him out of the latest Formula Renault 3.5 Championship at the Red Bull Ring after being held responsible for causing a bizarre crash on the finish line that led to Nicholas Latifi flipping over.

The Spaniard, who is dovetailing his F1 commitments with Manor by competing in the FR3.5 series with Pons Racing, had slowed to a cruise as he was crossing the finish line in fourth place at the end of the opening race.

However, behind him, Latifi was dicing with Tom Dillmann and had pulled out to defend from the Frenchman on the run to the finish line, the Canadian still at racing speed as he came up behind Merhi and struck the Spaniard. Sending the Arden car flipping over, both drivers were unhurt in the spectacular incident.

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In response, officials subsequently stripped Merhi of his fourth place finish and excluded him from competing in the second race too, a penalty he felt was heavy handed, insisting he was off the racing line when he was slowing.

"First of all I want to say I am glad that Latifi is good, that's all really important about what happened. However, I would like to denounce the excessiveness of the penalty imposed on me, which prevented me from fighting for victory in the second race.

"If the incident is seen in the video, it is clear that when I slow, I go to the pit wall and people coming back this far are on the opposite side of the line. There was no negligence to justify the penalty, as everything was completely random and really had very bad fortune as the events unfolded until the time of the