Sport Latifi earns 2018 Force India reserve role

14:50  05 january  2018
14:50  05 january  2018 Source:   readsport.co

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Formula 2 driver Nicholas Latifi will serve as the reserve and test driver for the Force India Formula 1 team in 2018.

Latifi finished 16th in his first full-time GP2 season with DAMS in 2016 but last year took nine podiums and one race win on his way to fifth in the F2 championship.

The Canadian will participate in a number of free practice sessions this year, substituting for regulars Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Latifi said.

“Force India is a team that has shown constant improvement for the last few years and I’m proud to become a part of one of the success stories of Formula 1.

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“I am eager to show the team what I can do and help them as they continue to close the gap to the front of the grid.”

Force India team principal Vijay Mallya added: “Nicholas joins us off the back of a strong season in F2 and strengthens our driver development programme.

“He will support our simulator programme and work with the team during a number of Friday practice sessions next year.

“We have a long track record of bringing on young talented drivers and Nicholas will learn a huge amount as he gets embedded in the team, and looks forward to a career in Formula 1.”

Latifi is expected to continue with DAMS for a third year in F2 this year alongside Alexander Albon.

ReadMotorsport Says:

For those concerned Force India has picked Latifi over 2017 GP3 champion George Russell for this role, should be not be alarmed.

Latifi is likely filling the financial hole left by Alfonso Celis Jr’s unconfirmed departure from the team.

Recent rule changes outlawed drivers such as Celis Jr taking part in practice sessions in 2018.

Russell will still very much be a part of Force India’s plans, and is likely still first in line, should Perez or Ocon leave the team at the end of 2018.

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