Williams’ reserve driver Nicholas Latifi says he had a more enjoyable second day of testing this week, as the team confirmed his first FP1 appearance of 2019.
The Canadian driver, currently racing with DAMS in Formula 2, drove the Williams FW42 for both days of the in-season test in Barcelona. While Day 1 was a steady, learning day as he never used a softer tyre than the C2 compound, Day 2 saw him bolt on the faster compounds and chase some laptime.
He ended up accumulating 88 laps over the course of the day, with a fastest time of 1:18.573 on the C5 compound. This is exactly three seconds slower than the fastest time of the test overall, with Valtteri Bottas clocking a 1:15.5 for Mercedes on the same compound tyre on the first day.
Despite losing some track time due to a technical stoppage before lunchtime, Latifi enjoyed his day in the car: “Day two from a driver’s point of view was more interesting than day one. I got to trial some of the softer compound of tyres, I used the C3, C4 and C5 which is fun to push a bit more. I tried some new development items that were brought to the car. In F2 we normally make a few balance changes, whereas this was putting something completely new on the car. It was interesting to see how that affected the car and for me to give feedback to the team.”
“Unfortunately, we had a problem that cost us one or two runs at the end of the morning and delayed our afternoon session by a few hours. However, we were still able to get back out and do some high fuel running which is good for my experience.”
Confirming his first appearance at a Grand Prix weekend this year after FP1 appearances with Force India last year, Latifi said he will be driving the Williams in first practice at next month’s Canadian Grand Prix: “I am pleased with the two days of testing and I look forward to my next outing with the team for FP1 at the Canadian Grand Prix.”
Senior Race Engineer Dave Robson praised Latifi for his hard work over the two days of testing, and said they’ve learned plenty. They will now continue to develop their car through the practice sessions, with no further testing available in 2019: “We had a successful and productive morning completing over 50 laps and gathering useful information on some test components. The morning running came to an end just before the allotted lunch break when the car unexpectedly stopped on the start-finish straight. Resolving this issue took a little while but the team worked hard and diligently to ensure that we could return to the track and complete the most important afternoon work.”
“Our in-season testing campaign is now over for 2019 and our attention will return to learning during Free Practice sessions at race weekends. Nicholas has done a superb job throughout this test and this has been crucial to our testing programme. We now look forward to having him back in the car in Canada where he will continue to assist our development programme.”