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The essential… Roberto Merhi

16 Jul 2015

Rather unusually, Roberto Merhi is combining his first full season of F1 competition with a campaign in Formula Renault 3.5, meaning barely a weekend goes by that he’s not at a race track. So how does the busy Spaniard keep body and soul in good order? We quizzed the Marussia rookie about some of the essentials in his life…

What are the essential elements of your pre-race routine?

Roberto Merhi: I like to listen to music. What music? It’s special music - I’ll never say!

What’s your essential tip for avoiding stress at airports?

RM: To be honest I find airports quite stressful, even though I’ve been through a lot of them. I arrive at the last minute, but then you get more stressed. But I hate to wait in airports. I arrive at the last minute all the time. I don’t know how I don’t miss flights - sometimes I make them by just one minute.

What is the essential corner in F1 racing?

RM: I don’t know… (long pause). You know in Monaco, you do the left-right after the tunnel and then you have another quick left hander [Tabac]? I like that. I like it because it’s narrow, it’s a quick corner and you need to have big balls.

What are the essential ingredients of a good night out?

RM: Good friends - that’s the most important thing. Then for sure you will have fun.

What essential items must you have in your driver’s room/motorhome at a race?

RM: Apart from my helmet and driving kit? Nothing interesting - it’s all quite boring.

What essential items must you always have in your fridge at home?

RM: Juice. I like apple juice. I mix it with water. I also like to keep some tuna - I like that a lot.

What are your essential qualities for a girlfriend/wife/partner?

RM: To be pretty and to be ‘real’. Someone you can talk to and have good conversations with. And not someone who wears too much make-up all the time.

What are essential qualities of a good F1 team mate?

RM: To be honest I like it when a team mate is a good friend because in one year you spend a lot of time together. Sometimes you have good team mates, sometimes really bad, but I prefer to have a quick team mate.

What app is it essential to have on your phone?

RM: WhatsApp. It’s amazing.

What are your essential requirements at a hotel?

RM: I never switch on the TV - I don’t know why, but I never do. I just want a big bed and for the temperature inside to be right. If it’s summer I want air con, if it’s winter I want it to be warm. Those are the most important things.

What is the essential Grand Prix every fan should attend at least once in their lifetime?

RM: The essential race is Macau - it’s the best as a driver. Of the tracks on the F1 calendar, probably Melbourne or Montreal.

What are your essential tips for a good night’s sleep?

RM: Good temperature. Normally a bit colder than normal and then I pull my blanket up over my head to keep warm. I sleep in just my underpants…

What are the essential items you must have with you while travelling?

RM: Running shoes and running stuff.

What is essential to help you wake up in the morning?

RM: Just a shower. I don’t like coffee.

What are the essential parts of your training regime?

RM: Running, cycling and swimming. Running is important because now we need to keep our weight down.

What is the one quality most essential for success in F1 racing?

RM: It’s speed. It’s 90 percent of what you need.