2020 F1 grid complete as Williams confirms Latifi

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images/LAT

2020 F1 grid complete as Williams confirms Latifi

Formula 1

2020 F1 grid complete as Williams confirms Latifi

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Nicholas Latifi will step up from Formula 2 to Formula 1 in 2020, racing for Williams alongside George Russell next season.

The Canadian has carried out a number of Friday practice outings in his role as the team’s reserve driver this year, while currently sitting second in the F2 standings ahead of this weekend’s final round in Abu Dhabi. The 24-year-old will replace Robert Kubica at Williams next season following the Pole’s decision to leave the team, and Latifi says his promotion still doesn’t feel real.

“I’m extremely excited to be stepping up to a full-time F1 race drive next year,” Latifi said. “For me, it’s a dream come true and something I’ve been working towards for almost half my life.

“It still feels a bit surreal. I don’t think it will sink in fully until I’m on the grid in Melbourne next year.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity from Williams. I’ve had a very enjoyable first year there – right from my first day at the factory. There is a great atmosphere throughout the team and everyone made me feel comfortable straight away. That’s important when you’re stepping into a new environment.

“I can’t wait to take the next step forward as a full-time race driver. I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead, going into F1 as a rookie, but I’m extremely motivated and determined to give it my all. I’ll give maximum effort and do whatever I can to help push the team forward and to achieve results we can be proud of.”

Deputy team principal Claire Williams says Latifi has performed well for Williams in his reserve driver role this season and earned the chance to stake his claim in a race seat next year.

“I am delighted to announce that Nicholas will be stepping up to the role of race driver to partner George in 2020,” Williams said. “All of us at Williams have been immensely impressed at what he has achieved this year in FIA Formula 2, along with his commitment to the team, and the work that he has put in behind the scenes.

“Nicholas has become an established and well-respected member of Williams, and we look forward to him stepping up into this new role, as we look to fight our way back to the midfield.”

The confirmation of Latifi’s promotion completes the 2020 grid, leaving Nico Hulkenberg without a race drive in F1 next year.

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