Nicholas Latifi is aiming to maximise his point-scoring opportunities when his FIA Formula 2 Championship title fight resumes at the penultimate round of the season in Russia this weekend (27-29 September).
The Canadian, who has four F2 wins to his credit this year, heads to Sochi occupying P2 in the Drivers’ Championship. He is 59 points behind title leader Nyck de Vries, with 96 still up for grabs across the four remaining races in Russia and Abu Dhabi.
The semi-permanent Sochi Autodrom will host Russia’s F2 round this weekend and, as a venue that winds its way between sports arenas that were used during the 2014 Winter Olympics, will provide a distinctive backdrop to the latest chapter in the F2 title story.
“Getting towards the end of the year the goal is always the same – to score as many points as possible. But as the rounds are counting down you want to make sure you’re still consistently scoring those points as there’s less rounds to make up what you lose,” Nicholas said.
“It was a bit of a shame to lose some points at Monza last time out, because that unfortunately means the title chase isn’t really in my hands at the moment. I can have an amazing last two rounds and Nyck can score some average points and still win the title.
“My focus is to get the best performance, get those big points, fight for those podiums and wins and we’ll see what happens. Mathematically I know it’s still more than possible but realistically it’ll be difficult. We’re still going to fight for it, though!”
Nicholas, who holds the role of ROKiT Williams Racing’s Formula 1 reserve driver, claimed a podium finish at the 5.85km-long Sochi Autodrom in 2018 and is confident that he and his DAMS team can fight for the leading positions once more this season.
“Sochi is a track where we had our best result last year, both me and the team, so that brings confidence going into the weekend,” he explained.
“We were quick both in qualifying and that race, so the confidence is high. I’m not worried about my performance, I know we’ll be at the sharp end of the grid but it’s about having a clean weekend and coming away with some big points.
“You get a bit of a street track feeling in Sochi even though it’s not a pure street track. There’s a lot of corners that are very similar in nature in that a lot of them are 90-degree corners or just above, so you get the same rhythm and flow through most of the lap.
“That makes it a bit simpler from a set-up point of view as normally you’re trying to find a good overall balance, whereas the range of corners is similar, so getting that sweet spot is an advantage.”
Practice and qualifying will take place on Friday, with Saturday’s F2 Feature Race scheduled for 16:45 local time (GMT+3). Sunday’s Sprint Race will begin at 11:20.