|Date of Birth:||29/06/1995|
|Favorite Track:||Silverstone, UK|
|First F1 Race:||2020 Austrian GP|
|Grand Prix Entered:||61|
|Highest Race Finished:||7 (2021 Hungarian GP)|
|Highest Grid Position:||10|
|F1 career points:||9|
Nicholas Latifi was the 15th Canadian to secure a seat in Formula One, and his journey to motorsport’s elite open-wheel championship started early. The Canadian was brought up in Toronto and began karting in his early teens. Karting is where the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen began their careers, and Latifi proved a nimble operator behind the wheel.
Within a few years he was racing on the books of Target/BVM, before moving to Carlin. Over the years he has had seats with various teams across multiple formulas, but F1 was always the ultimate goal.
In 2018 he got his first role as test driver for Force India, having impressed in Formula 2 with DAMS. It was practically a guarantee that Latifi would eventually get a permanent drive in an F1 car, and it came at the start of the 2020 season in the Williams.
Amazingly, Latifi's biggest impact in F1 was actually a crash. His collision with the track wall in the final race of the 2021 season gave Max Verstappen a last-lap chance to beat Lewis Hamilton to the world title, which he took. Red Bull boss Christian Horner joked after the race that Latifi would get free deliveries of the energy drink for life.
“For me, competing in Formula 1 is the ultimate sporting challenge. Success is measured in thousandths of a second and you have to be at your best every single lap. It’s a fantastic feeling when you hook the car up and reward the team and fans with a strong result.”www.nicholaslatifi.com
Nicholas Latifi has raced around the world and, to date, has driven for more than 15 teams. And it all began in the Canadian karting ranks way back in 2009. Here’s Latifi’s career highlights to date…
Latifi began karting in Ontario at the comparatively late age of 13. Most racing drivers hit the carts around seven or eight, but Latifi didn't need to long to catch up. His raw talent was obvious, and he spent his teenage summers karting in Canada, and winters racing in Florida.
Latifi's first racing experience came at the Formula Kartways in Brampton, Ont. He was 12 years old. A few years later he convinced his parents to leave Canada and move to Europe, in order to compete with other F1 hopefuls. He realised he couldn't get an F1 seat racing in Canada or the US.
Formula 3 is one of the lower grades of open-wheel racing that acts as a breeding ground for future F1 stars. And Latifi wasted little time getting accustomed to the competition in Europe. In 2012 he raced primarily for Italy's BVM team in the Italian Formula 3 Championship, where he finished seventh and claimed a first career race win. The next year he was snapped up by Carlin and raced in the Formula 3 European Championship and the British Championship. 2014 saw Latifi move back to an Italian team, Prema, and race again in the European Championship. While race wins were hard to come by, he secured a podium at his favourite racetrack, Silverstone.
Latifi finished his F3 career 10th in the championship, having amassed points in 17 of the series' 33 races. His final race was a fourth-place finish at Imola, close to Parma's HQ.
Latifi made the full move to Formula 3.5 with Arden Motorsport in 2015, having raced a handful of times for Tech 1 the season before. Discussing his move to Arden, Latifi revealed he had joined with the intention of winning the championship straightaway. However, it didn't quite go to plan. He finished 11th in the championship in 2015, as future F1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr. stormed to the title with DAMS.
In fact, Latifi failed to secure even a podium place in his only full season in F3.5. He had managed a second-place finish with Tech 1 the previous year at Jerez, but couldn't maintain that form over the winter. Latifi's best Formula 3.5 result with Arden was fourth-place finishes at both Spa and the Red Bull Ring.
While Latifi drove fairly well for Arden in Formula 3.5, it was his prowess with MP Motorsport in GP2 that year that caught the eye of DAMS. The French team was on the lookout for a new driver after losing star man Pierre Gasly to Prema. Latifi came in for the 2016 season and raced 22 times for DAMS, while also acting as Renault's F1 test driver. It would still be a few years until Latifi got an F1 seat, but he was on his way.
Latifi actually got his first GP2 experience with Hilmer way back in 2014, when replacing Daniel Abt for the last race weekend at Yas Marina. GP2 would be renamed Formula 2 in 2017, and remains the second tier in open-wheel motorsport behind F1.
In 2017 Latifi stuck with DAMS and Renault, and set his sights on the Formula 2 championship. The previous year, the then 20-year-old driver had revealed that his goal was to stay with Renault for two seasons, and push for the title in the second campaign. He finished fifth that year, and then ninth in 2018 while also being a test driver for Force India.
In the end Latifi remained in F2 for three years and in 2019 finished second in the championship. Still with DAMS, he just couldn’t get past Nyck de Vries, who would eventually move to F1 too. Finally Williams came calling. It was time for Latifi to step up to the big time.
Latifi made his F1 debut in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix of 2020. It was a weird race in that it came in the middle of the summer, with the 2020 F1 season shortened due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Latifi finished 11th at the Red Bull Ring, missing out on a point by one place. He was actually the last car over the line, with nine cars having retired from a dramatic first grand prix of the season. It was perhaps a surprise he even finished, considering he wrecked his car in Free Practice 3 the day before the race.
Latifi raced the full 2020 season for Williams but couldn't get into the points in any race. He matched his 11th-place finish at Monza and Emilia Romagna – two Italian circuits he knew well from earlier in his career.
The Canadian earned his first F1 points midway through the 2021 season. Having struggled in the Williams for the opening 10 races, he popped up with a seventh-place finish in Hungary and backed that up with F9 in Spa. Williams boss Jost Capito said after the Hungary race that Latifi's presence on the team was justified.
However, it would be 14 more months until Latifi earned his next points in the sport. That came with a ninth-place finish in Japan. Sadly for the Canadian, it was also too late. Williams had already decided to let him go at the end of the season.
Latifi is now looking for a new drive for 2023, but might have to wait until next year. The F1 season is well underway and Latifi is not test driving for anyone. But that doesn't mean his Formula One career is over. The fact is Latifi brings in more sponsorship money than most F1 drivers, and it's that cash which can make the difference to a team battling for race points. Williams have had to fill the gap since they ditched the Canadian, but another team – perhaps Haas or AlphaTauri – could push for him in 2024.