Nicholas Latifi can’t wait to get back on track as his FIA Formula 2 Championship campaign resumes at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium this weekend (24-26 August).
Refreshed and fully motivated after a four-week break since the previous event in Hungary, the 23-year-old is determined to put his recent run of bad luck behind him and believes racing at one of his favourite high-speed circuits will provide the perfect opportunity to get back to the sharp end of the grid where he feels he belongs.
“Spa is fast and flowing, the type of track I enjoy the most. My goal is to build on the positives that were there during my last race weekend in Hungary. Even if the results didn’t go our way, my race pace was encouraging, particularly in the Sprint Race,” he said.
“Myself and the team are motivated to get back to what we know we should be fighting for. There are four race weekends left in this year’s championship and I really want to end the season on a high note.”
On Monday Nicholas returned to DAMS Racing’s headquarters in France to continue the final phase of his pre-race preparations with the team and his race engineer.
“Analysing the data from our most recent races, we made some interesting conclusions at the factory. We’re hoping to use that information and enjoy a positive weekend in Belgium.
“It’s been good to have a month-long break because the races came thick and fast earlier this season and that made it hard to analyse every piece of detail,” Nicholas explained.
“The switch to a new Dallara chassis for this season means I have had to set aside a lot of the valuable experience I gained in 2017. Some knowledge is transferable – for example, how to conserve the tyres and to avoid overheating them – but in terms of how to extract the maximum from the car, it is completely different. With that in mind, I’ve been working on adapting my driving style to suit the 2018 car more effectively.”
Nicholas kept busy during the summer break: “I conducted a third test for the Sahara Force India F1 Team at the Hungaroring, returned to Canada to spend time with my family and did some karting and simulator work to keep my skills sharp. Now I’m looking forward to getting back to enjoying my racing.”
The weather at Spa is famously unpredictable, but Nicholas is relishing the early prospect of rain in the Ardennes countryside this weekend.
“The lap is more than 7km long and it can be wet at one end of the circuit but completely dry at the other,” he explained. “The forecast is for a little bit of rain, which could work in my favour because I always go well in wet conditions – I was P2 at Spa last year in the wet qualifying session for the Feature Race.”
Nicholas’s F2 race weekend begins on Friday with free practice at 12.55, before qualifying at 16.55. Saturday’s 25-lap Feature Race starts at 16.45 ahead of Sunday’s 18-lap Sprint Race that gets underway at 10.50. (Times quoted are GMT+2 / EDT+6).