Nicholas Latifi will compete in his first full season of Formula Renault 3.5 in 2015, having joined Arden Motorsport.
In 2015, the Canadian teenager ran in three weekends of the series for Tech 1 Racing, finishing on the podium in the season finale in Jerez, having raced primarily for Prema Powerteam in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship last season.
Latifi spoke to The Checkered Flag ahead of the season opening round of 2015 at Motorland Aragon this weekend, and revealed his career started when he was noticed while racing go-karts for fun.
“I started going to an indoor karting track when I was 12 years old just for fun,” said Latifi. “The track was owned by the man that mentors me today (David Tennyson). Within the first few laps he saw something special in me and convinced my parents and I to start racing competitively.
“In 2009, when I was 13, I started racing proper karts, and made my move to single seaters in Italian Formula 3 in 2012.
“Like most drivers I have had my ups and downs along the way and I have learned a great deal that I will apply to my 2015 season. If I reflect on my past years I would say that it’s been a learning experience with some struggles, but also with some great results. My focus now is to continue this learning approach and have my best season yet.”
Latifi admitted he learned from his three race weekends with the Tech 1 Racing outfit in 2014, getting used to the car and the race weekend format, and believed moving up from Formula 3 was the logical move for his career.
“I learned quite a bit during the few races I did in the WSR 3.5 Series at the end of the 2014 season,” revealed Latifi. “It was good for me to experience the format of the race weekends as it was different to what I was used to.
“Obviously the actual driving time I got in the car was beneficial as well because I got to experience driving it in qualifying and race conditions, which is much more valuable than just driving on a regular test day.
“For me, this move was a logical step [to move into Formula Renault 3.5]. My management team and I knew a move up from F3 was the way to go. The FR3.5 series is great because it gives you lots of track time during the race weekends in a great car.
“It’s powerful and creates lots of downforce, which really makes it enjoyable to drive and will surely contribute to my development as a driver.”
Latifi made sure he chose the right team for him for 2015, getting experience with four different teams before choosing Arden. He admitted he felt comfortable in the environment with the team, and is confident the partnership can have a strong season together.
“Before coming to my decision I had driven with 4 different teams in the series,” said Latifi. “I chose Arden because I felt the most comfortable with their team atmosphere both at the track and away from it.
“I felt a good connection with all the team personnel and their racing pedigree and past successes in the championship also speaks for itself. I’m confident we will be able to do great things together this year.
“The team really works in a professional and organized manner and knows how to get the job done and the atmosphere in the garage is also a nice one to be a part of.”
Latifi cannot wait for the season to start this weekend in Spain, revealing he has been preparing himself for this moment for a long time. He also is eager to have his first experience of the track in Monaco in May, and wants to be a challenger for the title in 2015.
“I’m most looking forward to the first race of the season,” revealed Latifi. “There had been lots of preparation leading up to this year and I’m excited to finally get started come the Motorland race weekend. I’m also really looking forward to getting the opportunity to race at Monaco for the first time.
“My expectations for the season are to fight for the championship and learn as much as I can in the process to help with my development.”