Nicholas Latifi has joined Force India as test and reserve driver and will make a number of Friday practice appearances for the team in 2018.
The 22-year-old Canadian impressed during his second year in the FIA Formula 2 championship last season, finishing fifth in the drivers’ standings with one win and eight other podiums. Having previously been a part of the Renault driver line-up, Latifi took part in last year’s in-season test at the Hungaroring, while he also drove the 2017 car during a Pirelli tire test in Barcelona.
Having now been confirmed as a Force India driver in 2018, Latifi will get the opportunity to take part in an F1 race weekend with Friday outings part of his role.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Latifi said. “Sahara Force India is a team that has shown constant improvement for the last few years and I’m proud to become a part of one of the success stories of Formula 1. I am eager to show the team what I can do and help them as they continue to close the gap to the front of the grid.”
As well as the Friday practice runs, team principal Vijay Mallya says Latifi will also be working closely with Force India away from the track.
“Nicholas joins us off the back of a strong season in F2 and strengthens our driver development program,” Mallya said. “He will support our simulator program and work with the team during a number of Friday practice sessions next year. We have a long track record of bringing on young talented drivers and Nicholas will learn a huge amount as he gets embedded in the team, and looks forward to a career in Formula 1.”
Last year Force India ran both Alfonso Celis Jr. and George Russell during Friday practice sessions, with Mercedes youngster Russell taking part in both Brazil and Abu Dhabi having wrapped up the GP3 title.
While new Friday practice license regulations from the FIA prevent Celis Jr. from running on F1 weekends – as the Mexican has failed to accumulate 25 super license points or start six F2 races in the past three years – Russell had previously stated his desire to continue working with Force India in 2018.