Nicholas Latifi is hoping to repeat his successful racing form in Hungary when the FIA Formula 2 Championship reaches Budapest for round eight this weekend (27-29 July).
The Canadian finished a close second in last year’s Feature Race in Hungary, just two tenths off the win, and went on to bank more points in the Sprint Race. Twelve months on, Nicholas is eager to get back to the 4.38km Hungaroring and go after more points at the wheel of his DAMS Racing machine.
“It’s not one of my favourite events in the calendar, but last year it ended up being one of my strongest race weekends,” Nicholas acknowledged. “It’s a tight and twisty track and tends to host exciting races because it’s so difficult to overtake. It’s often likened to Monaco, but without the walls.
“The number of corners and heavy braking zones make it difficult for the tyres because they don’t really get a rest. It’s normally hot too, although the forecast suggests we might be in for some rain this time – and I wouldn’t mind that.”
Since the last F2 round in Great Britain, Nicholas completed his second Formula One Free Practice session for the Sahara Force India team, driving its VJM11 F1 car for 27 laps at the Hockenheimring in Germany.
He also spent time at DAMS Racing, reviewing data from the recent trio of back-to-back F2 rounds, and was able to evaluate new clutch upgrades that will be introduced to all F2 cars in Hungary to make them less susceptible to stalling.
Nicholas said: “Like all the teams, we were given permission to test the new clutch components and carry out some starts in full power mode. The pull-away seemed easier, but it remains to be seen how easy it will be to get a good start, without too much wheelspin or bogging down.
“In general, the break since Silverstone has given us more time to analyse the data and plan how best to attack this weekend,” he continued.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle in the first half of the year, so each race is an opportunity to learn from the previous one and get back to where me and the team feel we deserve to be.
“The goal remains the same. I want to finish in the points in both races, starting with good practice and qualifying sessions with no mistakes. This is the last round before the summer break, and I want to get some momentum now, get some confidence back and head into the break on a positive.”
The action at the Hungaroring begins on Friday with Practice at 1255hrs (local), before Qualifying at 1655hrs. Saturday’s 37-lap Feature Race starts at 1645hrs ahead of the Sunday’s 28-lap Sprint Race from 1120hrs.
Nicholas’s FIA Formula 2 Championship programme is proudly supported by Royal Bank of Canada, Lavazza and Sofina.