Nicholas Latifi is set for a busy weekend at the upcoming Russian Grand Prix (28 – 30 Sept) where he will tackle the Sochi Autodrom circuit in both the Formula One and Formula Two categories.
The 23-year-old Canadian will first take to the track on Friday, driving the Racing Point Force India Team’s 2018 F1 car in the opening Free Practice (FP1) as part of his test and development driver role.
Nicholas will drive Sergio Perez’s car for the 90-minute session. It will be his fifth outing in the team’s 2018 challenger and follows FP1 appearances in Canada and Germany and development tests in Barcelona and Hungary.
Immediately after FP1, Nicholas will cross to the Formula Two paddock and strap into his DAMS Racing car to begin the penultimate round of the F2 season.
“It will be my first time mixing F2 and F1 at the same weekend,” Nicholas explained. “The FP1 and F2 Free Practice sessions run back-to-back on Friday, so it’s going to be quite exciting. After FP1 I’ll have time for a quick debrief and change of race suit before I’ll get out on track again.”
“I’m not sure how the F1 laps will affect my F2 preparation because there is a big difference between the performance of the two cars. I hope it will be a benefit, giving me some references and familiarity on track.”
Sochi’s 5.84km street circuit is a new addition to this season’s F2 calendar but Nicholas is able to draw on a previous appearance there three years ago.
“I did a one-off GP2 race in 2015, so I do have some experience around the track which should help me get up to speed a bit quicker,” he said.
“The track has a lot in common with Baku, but with a higher average speed. There are lots of 90-degree corners and most are taken at a similar speed, so it’s important to get the car set-up correct for that particular range. Getting that right I think will be key to finding a good driving rhythm.”
“The surface is very smooth and isn’t known for high tyre degradation, but with Pirelli nominating the Supersoft and Soft compounds I’m anticipating an exciting Feature Race on Saturday.”
Having sealed a win and two top-five finishes from his last four F2 races, Nicholas hopes to collect another strong haul of championship points this week.
“It’s been about a month since the last round at Monza, so it’s exciting to get back to F2,” he said. “The last two rounds have been quite good, and I’m looking forward to carrying that momentum to Sochi and on to the end of the season.”
The action in Russia begins on Friday with F1 Free Practice at 1100hrs (local), before F2 Free Practice at 1300hrs and Qualifying at 1655hrs. Saturday’s Feature Race starts at 1645hrs and the weekend wraps up on Sunday with the Sprint Race from 1120hrs.
Nicholas’s FIA Formula 2 Championship programme is proudly supported by Royal Bank of Canada, Lavazza and Sofina.