Whilst Formula Two has a nice month long break before a standalone weekend in Jerez from 6-8th October, I have caught up with DAMS driver, Nicholas Latifi who also is one of Renault F1’s test drivers. for a very honest and in depth interview.
- Who inspired you to become a racing driver?
Latifi; Honestly, I wasn’t really inspired by any particular driver to start racing. I only got into the sport very late (started karting at the age of 13) and I kind of just stumbled upon it by chance. It was one of those things where I enjoyed it so much and I just got hooked!
That being said, some of the drivers I really “idolised” and still do were Schumacher, Hamilton and Alonso.
- The start of your single seater career saw you compete in two F3 series but which series did you find the toughest racing in?
Latifi; Out of the two different F3 series I raced in for sure, I would say the FIA F3 European Championship was way more competitive.
Out of all the racing series I’ve raced in, I would say GP2 or now F2 would have to be the most challenging as there are so many other important factors to get to grips with, such as the tyres (both exploiting them over one lap but also managing them in the race), and also the lack of track time you get in practice to get up to speed.
- You raced in the 2013 Master of F3 race against recognisable names such as; Jordan King, Alex Lynn, Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Gelael. How beneficial has competing against those drivers helped you over the past two seasons in GP2/F2?
Latifi; For sure, racing against fast drivers always helps develop you as a racing driver as it pushes you to always try and find that last little bit of time.
Specifically talking about Alex Lynn, as I was his teammate last year, I was able to learn quite a bit from him as he has quite a lot more motorsport experience than me.
- The past two seasons saw you competing in GP2/F2 at DAMS with vast improvement this time around. What has been your favourite highlight from a crazy couple of seasons which has seen plenty of drama throughout the field, amidst clinching a thrilling Sprint race victory at Silverstone?
Latifi; For sure, the highlight from the two seasons has to be the win in Silverstone. I had come quite close to winning two different races this year before then (Barcelona race 2, and Austria race 1) so it was nice to finally get the win.
That being said, I have been on the podium many times this year and it’s a feeling that never gets old so it’s a highlight for me every time I get to step on one!
- Do you prefer wet or dry racing conditions?
Latifi; I love driving in the wet but when it comes to racing in the wet, it is completely different and a lot of the time not as enjoyable.
The main reason is because when racing, you have a lot of spray and it becomes very difficult to see the other cars and it can become quite dangerous.
For example, Our feature race in Monza a couple of weeks ago was quite tricky for me as I couldn’t properly see into the braking zone at the end of the straights for over half of the race. That being said, I prefer racing in dry conditions.
- Finally, what are your expectations for the future now that you are one of Renault’s test drivers?
Latifi; Obviously, the goal is to arrive in Formula 1. I have had some good experiences this year with Renault, specifically getting to do two days of driving in the R.S.17, which was really cool as I got to sample the current spec F1 cars with the bigger tyres and wings.
Going forward, it is difficult to say what will happen but all I know is getting the results and performing on track in F2 is what will give me the best shot at reaching my goal.