Nicholas Latifi is braced for a busy programme of on-track action at this weekend’s French Grand Prix where he will drive both Formula 1 and Formula 2 machinery.
The Canadian travels to Circuit Paul Ricard leading the FIA Formula 2 Championship drivers’ standings and keen to extend his advantage at the 5.84 km track which is the home venue for his DAMS team.
But before Latifi resumes his F2 title challenge, the 23-year-old will make a second Formula 1 Free Practice (FP1) appearance behind the wheel of ROKiT Williams Racing’s FW42.
After a storming start to his F2 campaign, with wins in Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Spain, Latifi is aiming to bounce back from a tough last round in Monaco, where his pace went unrewarded amid incidents and setbacks.
“It’s been nearly a month since Monaco and not having the weekend go the way I wanted to go. I’m really motivated to get racing in France, score some good points and build the momentum again,” he explained.
“The track itself is one at which I have the least experience, but I’m confident that with the way everything is going this year that’s not going to matter.
“We didn’t lack pace in Monaco, but there were a lot of incidents. Fortunately, I had built enough of a buffer to retain the championship lead. I learned a lot from Monaco, now I’m looking to the future and I’m ready to make the most of the upcoming races.”
While Latifi’s primary focus in France will be on his Formula 2 campaign, he hopes the Formula 1 seat time as ROKiT Williams Racing’s official Reserve Driver in Friday’s practice session will complement his title bid.
“This is the first FP1 I have alongside F2 this year – it’s double duty,” he said. “It’s a challenge but more track time is definitely a benefit and it’s good to continue with the development, especially so soon after the FP1 outing in Montreal.
“I drove F1 and F2 sessions in Sochi last year and it ended up being my best F2 weekend of the year. Yes, it is difficult to run from the F1 paddock and jump straight into the F2 car. But the chance for more time on the track, and to find a good rhythm is worth more than any negative effect of re-adjusting to a different car.”
Latifi’s packed timetable begins with the opening F1 free practice session at 11:00 local time (GMT +2) on Friday. The session concludes just 25 minutes before the Formula 2 weekend begins with practice at 12:55.
Formula 2 qualifying is scheduled for 16:55 on Friday, with the 30-lap Feature Race set for 16:45 on Saturday, and the 21-lap Sprint Race at 11:25 on Sunday.
Nicholas’s 2019 racing programme is proudly supported by Lavazza, Sofina and Royal Bank of Canada.