Nicholas Latifi will participate in his third free practice session of 2018 this weekend at the Sochi Autodrom, but unlike his first two appearances, he will be then turning his attention immediately to the FIA Formula 2 championship at the session’s conclusion.
It will be the Canadian’s first Formula 1 session since the weekend at the Hockenheimring in July, with the first having come in his homeland at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in June. However, neither the weekends in Canada or Germany saw Formula 2 as a supporting category, whereas both are present in Russia.
Latifi will take to the track for Racing Point Force India F1 Team on Friday morning before switching paddocks and jumping into his DAMS Formula 2 car, and he hopes the Formula 1 action will not have any negative effect on the rest of his weekend.
“It will be my first time mixing F2 and F1 at the same weekend,” said Latifi. “The FP1 and F2 Free Practice sessions run back-to-back on Friday, so it’s going to be quite exciting. After FP1 I’ll have time for a quick debrief and change of race suit before I’ll get out on track again.
“I’m not sure how the F1 laps will affect my F2 preparation because there is a big difference between the performance of the two cars. I hope it will be a benefit, giving me some references and familiarity on track.”
It won’t be Latifi’s first experience at Sochi having raced with MP Motorsport in the GP2 Series back in 2015, with the Canadian hoping that his experience helps him get up to speed quicker than he would have done if he would have needed to learn the track.
“I did a one-off GP2 race in 2015, so I do have some experience around the track which should help me get up to speed a bit quicker,” admitted the Canadian. “The track has a lot in common with Baku, but with a higher average speed.
“There are lots of 90-degree corners and most are taken at a similar speed, so it’s important to get the car set-up correct for that particular range. Getting that right I think will be key to finding a good driving rhythm.
“The surface is very smooth and isn’t known for high tyre degradation, but with Pirelli nominating the Supersoft and Soft compounds I’m anticipating an exciting Feature Race on Saturday.”
Latifi has had some strong results across the past two Formula 2 race weekends, and despite almost a month away from racing, he hopes to continue with that momentum into Russia this weekend.
“It’s been about a month since the last round at Monza, so it’s exciting to get back to F2,” commented Latifi. “The last two rounds have been quite good, and I’m looking forward to carrying that momentum to Sochi and on to the end of the season.”