United States Grand Prix – Williams’ third driver Nicholas Latifi will be at the wheel of George Russell’s FW42 for opening practice at the Circuit of the Americas.
With Latifi’s Formula 2 campaign winding down, Williams have stepped up the Canadian’s involvement in their Formula 1 programme to close out the season. With three Grands Prix left this season, he will take part in two practice sessions out of those events.
Heading to Austin this weekend with the team, Latifi will be driving George Russell’s car in first practice, having driven Robert Kubica’s car in the same session last week in Mexico.
Latifi is currently in Colorado at a training camp in preparation for the Austin weekend, and says he’s looking forward to trying out the circuit – one he’s never driven at before: “Coming off an FP1 last week I feel that I am more in the rhythm of the car, which is important when you only have a limited number of laps in the session. Austin in probably one of the tracks on the calendar that I am most looking forward to driving that I have not yet driven. It seems like a track that has a bit of everything and the first sector, with all the fast-flowing corners, is exactly what I love in these high downforce cars. It’s not so often that I get to drive new tracks for the first time so I’m looking forward to that challenge and hopefully I’ll be able to get up to speed quickly.”
Having taken part in Mexican practice last week, Latifi said that he was happy with how his run in the car progressed: “I was pleased with how FP1 went. It was a clean session and I gathered the data the team needed. It wasn’t possible to compare lap times with George as we were on different run plans. I was on quite an old package, as the team is limited with spares, so understandably I didn’t want to risk damage for Robert. Considering what I lost in pure performance from the parts I was where I wanted to be, and exactly where the team wanted me to be, so I can take some positivity from that!”
Latifi is a candidate for the open seat at Williams for 2020, as Robert Kubica has already confirmed he will not be racing with the team next year. Having contended for the Formula 2 title this year, Latifi has strong financial backing and is the favourite to land the open cockpit.