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Latifi reveals Force India test plans

NEWS STORY
19/02/2018

Other than a number of FP1 outings this season, Force India test and reserve driver, Nicholas Latifi has confirmed that he will be driving the VJM11 - or whatever it's called after the team's name change - in next week's test at Barcelona.

"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," said the Canadian.

"I'm really excited to be getting in the car so soon," he added. "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."

Among the FP1 outings the 22-year-old is looking forward to this year is his home race in Montreal.

"Actually I've never raced or even driven at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve," he admits, "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."

Asked how he is settling in at the team, he said: "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."

With the strict limits on testing, much of his driving is actually carried out in the team simulator, but the DAMS F2 driver doesn't see this as a bad thing.

"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," he says. "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."

Asked about his forever feuding Force India teammates, he says: "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."

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1. Posted by bfairey, 19/02/2018 23:15

"Is this another "pay to go" driver?"

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