Nicholas Latifi is excited for his first free practice outing of the season this weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for Williams Racing, with the Canadian driving in place of Robert Kubica for the first session of the weekend.
Latifi, the current FIA Formula 2 championship leader after three wins already in the 2019 season, has previously taken part in three test days with Williams earlier this season having joined the team ahead of the current campaign as their test and reserve driver.
The Canadian will compete in the first practice session alongside regular race driver George Russell in front of his home fans at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and he hopes to be able to provide good feedback to the team that can benefit them and their performance throughout the rest of the weekend as they strive to score their first points of a troubled 2019 to date.
“I’m really excited to take part in my first FP1 session with the team,” said Latifi. “The fact that it’s at my home GP will definitely add an extra bit of excitement but nonetheless the goal still remains the same.
“I want to do a good job for the team and give them the feedback they need to guide them going into FP2. I feel really well prepared after the three days of in-season testing I have had, along with all the work I have conducted at the factory this year, I can’t wait to hit the track!”
Dave Robson, the Senior Race Engineer at Williams, is looking forward to seeing how Latifi performs in the FW42 on Friday, and he says the Canadian will be playing a vital role in the preparations for the race weekend at the Montréal track.
“Following his successful testing appearances in Bahrain and Barcelona, our Reserve Driver Nicholas Latifi will drive Robert’s car during FP1,” said Robson. “This is Nicholas’s home race and we look forward to some strong local support on Friday.
“Nicholas will be involved fully in our race preparations, and alongside George will conduct some important testing of new components during FP1. For FP2 onwards Robert will return to the track and re-familiarise himself with the circuit which played host to his maiden Formula One victory in 2008.”
Robson says teams will run much lower downforce levels this weekend than in recent races, but the compromise between the fast straights and slow chicanes and hairpins means there is likely to be a range of different set-up solutions on show throughout the grid.
“The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve always leads to some exciting and close racing,” he said. “Overtaking is easier than at many circuits and the weather and tyres often play a significant part in the race strategy.
“In contrast to Monaco, most cars will run lower downforce to increase their straight-line speed and therefore their race pace. However, this can come at the expense of qualifying lap time as well as tyre management. As a result, we can expect to see a range of set-up solutions.”