Q&A with Nicholas Latifi
"The size and scale of an F1 team always impresses me"
We chat with the young Canadian who is joining the Force India F1 team for the 2018 season.
Have you settled in well over the last few weeks?
NL: “It’s early days and I’m still getting to know people, but so far so good. The size and scale of an F1 team always impresses me and I’m still learning everybody’s name. The welcome I’ve received has been very warm and I’ve already built some good relationships with the engineers who I’ve been working with in the simulator. I’ve visited the factory a few times and there’s a great atmosphere. I’m enjoying being part of this team.”
How was your winter? What have you been doing for the past few months?
NL: “The winter is always the best time to work on your base fitness. When we start travelling, it’s hard to keep up a regular training programme so I’ve worked really hard in the last three months to get in great shape. I’ve done a bit of everything: cardio, strength work, and even some karting in Florida. I really enjoy fitness work so it’s not really a hardship for me.”
You will be driving the F1 car during the first test in Barcelona. What are your expectations?
NL: “I’m really excited to be getting in the car so soon. I will be driving the last day of the first week, which is ideal because it will give me a few more days to observe how the team works and hear the feedback of Esteban and Sergio. I know that track time is critical early in the season so my goal is to make sure I give the team the best possible feedback and help with the car development.”
You’ve been working on the team’s simulator already – how helpful is this for your preparation?
NL: “Irrespective of the benefits the team gets from the simulator, it’s such a useful tool for a driver, especially a young driver like me. I’m always keen for more track time, but the reality is that F2 and Formula One have strict limits on how much track testing is allowed. So anything I can do to supplement driving time – even in the virtual world – is a huge benefit. It’s a big help when you’re about to drive a new car for the first time because you can familiarise yourself with the car’s procedures and the steering wheel functions.”
You will drive in a number of free practice sessions this year, one of which will be at the Canadian Grand Prix. That must be such an exciting prospect…
NL: “Actually I’ve never raced or even driven at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve so this will be my first opportunity to experience an amazing track. I’m super excited about driving the car in front of the Canadian fans and I’m sure it will be a highlight of the season. I will try and enjoy the moment, but I’m well aware that the priority is simply to work through the practice programme and give the team all the information they need.”
How well do you know Sergio and Esteban?
NL: “Sergio I don’t know well, but I’ve known Esteban for a few years and we were teammates together in F3. They are both racing at a high level and Sergio has been racing in F1 for a long time. I’m sure there will be the opportunity to learn from both of them.”