Latifi's dad to buy him Williams seat for 2020, replace Kubica (9th Update)
|Latifi has a billionnaire daddy just like fellow Canadian Lance Stroll|
UPDATE (GMM) Nicholas Latifi is not willing to confirm that he will make his Formula 1 race debut with Williams in 2020.
Le Journal de Montreal newspaper is certain that the well-funded 24-year-old Canadian will be George Russell's next teammate.
But Latifi, whose billionaire father Michael co-owns McLaren, is not admitting that.
"It's too early to announce anything," he said in Austin.
However, he does admit that he will not be returning to Formula 2 in 2020. He looks set to finish the F1 feeder series second overall this year.
"After four years in F2, I have to move on," said Latifi. "After Abu Dhabi, I will be finished there."
As for Formula 1 and Williams, however, he has little to say.
"I will do another practice session in Brazil, and then I will focus on the last Formula 2 race in Abu Dhabi," he said.
"Nothing has been decided about next season, but I want to become a Formula 1 driver for Williams. We'll see."
11/02/19 (GMM) Nicholas Latifi will reportedly replace Robert Kubica at Williams in 2020.
The 24-year-old Canadian, whose father is the wealthy McLaren co-owner Michael Latifi, is already driving the Williams on Friday in Mexico, Austin and Brazil.
And Le Journal de Montreal says he will definitely race in 2020.
"The contract is well and truly signed, but the announcement is only expected at the end of the month," the newspaper said, citing 'reliable sources'.
It is believed the only potential obstacle to the deal is a super license, but Latifi will qualify if he simply keeps his current place in the Formula 2 standings.
In Austin, however, Claire Williams denied that a deal has been done.
"The plan was always to have Nicholas in the car for these practice sessions," she said. "It's no clear indication (of a race seat).
"We've made it very clear in the media that we won't be making our driver announcement for that second seat for 2020 until after Abu Dhabi."
|Nicholas Latifi - has check, will drive|
10/21/19 Formula 2 frontrunner Nicholas Latifi will drive for Williams during opening free practice at the next three Formula 1 grands prix.
Latifi, who currently occupies second place in the F2 standings, will contest FP1 sessions at this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, before making further appearances in the United States and Brazil.
He will drive Robert Kubica’s FW42 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, before stepping in for George Russell at the Circuit of the Americas.
“I’m really excited to get back in the car in Mexico as it feels like a long time since my previous outing at Spa,” Latifi said.
“I got the chance to drive in Mexico last year in FP1, so I am familiar with what to expect.
“It’s quite a unique track because of the elevation, so you have a lack of grip, which makes it challenging. As always, my goal remains the same for FP1, to have a clean session and help guide the team going into FP2.”
Williams senior race engineer Dave Robson added: “Nicholas Latifi joins us this weekend for the first of three consecutive FP1 sessions. This weekend he will drive Robert’s car, before taking over George’s car in Austin.
“Nicholas has done an extremely good job each time he has driven the car this season and we look forward to welcoming him back and getting his impression of the latest upgrades.”
09/09/19 (GMM) Nicholas Latifi looks set to replace Robert Kubica at Williams for 2020.
Kubica, having returned to Formula 1 this year but clearly struggling, said at Monza that he doesn't know if he has done enough to keep the race seat.
Williams has kept supporting the 34-year-old despite his struggle, but boss Claire Williams said at Monza: "We're working out what we're going to be doing from a race driver perspective for 2020 at the moment."
George Russell already has a Williams contract for 2020.
And Charrel Jalving, a well-connected motorsport marketing expert, has reported from Monza that the Latifi deal for 2020 is now done.
"Another great bag of money for Williams to continue to survive," he said.
Indeed, 24-year-old Latifi's father Michael is a billionaire and McLaren co-owner.
Latifi is already Williams' reserve and Friday driver, and he looks on course to qualify for his F1 Super License for 2020 by doing well in Formula 2.
"At the end of the summer, we'll know where he is," Michael Latifi said in June.
06/08/19 (GMM) Nicholas Latifi's influential father says the Canadian driver wants a place on the 2020 grid.
This weekend, the 23-year-old Formula 2 championship leader appeared for Williams in the Friday morning session.
Latifi has been linked with Robert Kubica's seat for 2020.
"Williams is a good fit for Nicholas," Michael Latifi, a billionaire and McLaren co-owner, told Le Journal de Montreal.
"It is a family team with a good track record in the development of young drivers, including Jacques Villeneuve and Valtteri Bottas."
For now, Latifi is focusing in Formula 2, where he needs to finish in the top 5 in 2019 in order to get the mandatory F1 Super License.
"At the end of the summer, we'll know where he is," Michael Latifi said.
"The goal is always to get a full-time position in F1, but there is no guarantee. The better you do in F2, it can open doors in F1.
"Some drivers are in danger, including Robert Kubica and Antonio Giovinazzi," he added.
Michael Latifi played down his son's chances of a seat at McLaren, even though he has invested heavily in the Woking based team.
"There is no discussion about that," said the 10 per cent McLaren shareholder.
"We have two good young drivers and are very happy. My involvement at McLaren has never been linked to the prospect of offering a job to my son," Latifi insisted.
Indeed, he thinks a Williams seat would be ideal.
"It's easier for a young driver to start in a smaller team rather than a big one where you have to perform right away," said Latifi.
06/05/19 (GMM) Nicholas Latifi has played down suggestions he is now on the cusp of a F1 race seat.
The 23-year-old, whose father Michael co-owns McLaren, is the test driver at Williams this year.
He tested in Bahrain and Barcelona but this weekend in his native Canada, Latifi will take over Robert Kubica's car in Friday practice.
Last month, Le Journal de Montreal said Latifi was first in line should Williams decide to oust Kubica, the struggling Pole, altogether.
Latifi played that down, and now ahead of the Canadian GP he says: "First and foremost I have to focus on Formula 2."
So far, he is doing that well, leading the F1 feeder series. It is likely he will obtain the credential he needs to race in 2020 by finishing in the top five.
"I don't yet have my Super License that I need to race in F1," Latifi said. "My goal has not changed. I want to be there as soon as possible."
Latifi will be back in the Williams at Paul Ricard, that time replacing George Russell on Friday.
|Canadian Nicholas Latifi|
05/21/19 Speculation that Nicolas Latifi may replace Robert Kubica at Williams for the entire Canadian Grand Prix weekend appears to be way off the mark as the team are committed to their current driver line-up for the foreseeable future.
A Williams spokesperson put an end to the speculation and clarified, “As part of Nicolas’s role with us he gets six FP1 outings. Three of these in place of Robert, three in place of George. Nic’s first FP1 outing will be in Canada in place of Robert, his second will be in France in place of George.”
Thus for Montreal Latifi will be out on the Friday morning practice in place of Kubica, but thereafter the Pole will return to the cockpit for the remainder of the weekend.
05/16/19 After two full days of testing, Canadian Nicholas Latifi confirms he will be driving in FP1 on Friday morning during the Canadian Grand Prix.
"I am pleased with the two days of testing and I look forward to my next outing with the team for FP1 at the Canadian Grand Prix," Latifi said in his Williams testing debrief.
The two Williams cars run at the back of the grid, but rookie George Russell has beaten one-armed Kubica in all five Grands Prix. The British team hope to close the gap and they managed to test some upgrades in Barcelona.
"I got to trial some of the softer compounds of tires, I used the C3, C4 and C5 which is fun to push a bit more. I tried some new development items that were brought to the car," he added.
"Unfortunately, we had a problem that cost us one or two runs at the end of the morning and delayed our afternoon session by a few hours. However, we were still able to get back out and do some high fuel running which is good for my experience."
05/15/19 (GMM) Nicholas Latifi is not denying that he wants to get into Formula 1.
The Canadian is Williams' reserve driver, and he has been promised some Friday practice outings in 2019.
Not just that, amid the hype surrounding Mick Schumacher, it is actually 23-year-old Latifi - whose father is a billionaire - who is leading the Formula 2 standings.
And Le Journal de Montreal reported recently that Latifi is first in line should the struggling Robert Kubica be ousted before the end of the season.
"Of course my goal is to get into Formula 1," Latifi said as he tested for Williams in Barcelona this week.
"But my program this year is focused on Formula 2. That is my priority.
"I have to concentrate on maintaining my current form there and winning the championship. If I do that, I think I will find myself in a good position to go to Formula 1 next year," he added.
However, he said there have been no talks with Williams about 2020 yet.
"Honestly, not yet," said Latifi. "The season has just begun and a lot can happen.
"But if you look at the past, and those who won the Formula 2 and GP2 titles, I think most of them found themselves in Formula 1.
"From my point of view, if I win the championship, then my goal is an immediate transition to Formula 1."
|One-armed (note mangled right arm) Robert Kubica simply too slow|
05/11/19 (GMM) The first rumors that Robert Kubica could be ousted by Williams have emerged.
The Pole has struggled alongside George Russell on his return to F1 after an eight year absence with a permanent arm injury.
Kubica, 34, has been questioning whether his car is identical to Russell's, so for Barcelona the pair's respective chassis have been switched.
"I think the differences between the cars was a problem with a sensor," Russell said.
"This weekend I am using Robert's chassis and Robert has the new one."
But Russell remained significantly faster in the second Friday practice session in Barcelona.
"The main problem that I had in Baku is still there," Kubica told Eleven Sports.
As for Williams' upgrades this weekend, Kubica said: "We brought improvements to the parts that we already have.
"Some work and some ... unfortunately we did not achieve the results we expected."
Le Journal de Montreal claims that Canadian Nicholas Latifi, the Williams reserve driver whose father is a billionaire, could replace Kubica before the end of the season.
"According to our information, it is time for major decisions within the British team," the newspaper claimed.
"Apparently Kubica has a clause in his contract stating that he could be replaced during the season."