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Latifi has eyes on Formula One

The 20-year-old Canadian is a test driver for the Renault Sport Formula One team and is on hand at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

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MONTREAL, PQ: It was more just a homecoming for Nickolas Latifi – it was the dream of a lifetime.

The 20-year-old Canadian is a test driver for the Renault Sport Formula One team and is on hand at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

It is the first time a Canadian driver has been in F1 in a decade.

Only 20-years-old, the Montreal-born Latifi is currently working on gaining his Super Licence which will allow him to take part in at least one Free Practice session during this year’s F1 season.

He has already been told he has met all the criteria necessary to have the licence that allows him to compete at the highest levels of motorsports.

A busy man, Latifi is also a driver for the championship-winning DAMS squad in this season’s GP2 Series which is the main feeder category into F1.

He has competed in two GP2 races this year starting with Barcelona where he finished a strong second near the end.

“The race was shortened by one lap,” he said. “If not, I’m sure that I could have won.”

In the second race at Monaco on the grand prix weekend, he was not so lucky but is now focused on the next race June 17-19 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

At 20, it’s hard to believe his professional racing career officially started in only 2009, but he has covered a lot of ground since competing in karts, Formula 3, the Toyota Racing Series, the Porsche Carrera Cup and Formula Renault 3.5 racing in Canada, Italy, Great Britain, New Zealand, USA and Europe.

While he was born in Montreal, his family moved to Richmond Hill when he was six months old.

“I have good memories of Richmond Hill,” he said. “I can still remember my address.”

He attended the Toronto Montessori School in Richmond Hill before the family moved when he was eight-years-old to North York which he still calls home.

Latifi says his plan is to concentrate on GP2 for the next two years and, with luck and solid driving, move up to F1.

When asked what it would be like to drive a F1 car in Montreal, he said, “Of course it’s a dream but I’m confident I can do it.”

Here in Canada, Infiniti sees Latifi as a wonderful way to bring the recognition of the excitement of F1 to a Canadian audience and, more to the point, the Infiniti Canada dealer body.”

“I speak on behalf of everyone at Infiniti Canada in congratulating Nicholas Latifi on his new role for Renault Sport Formula One Team. We are absolutely thrilled to see a Canadian driver on the roster,” said Stephen Lester, managing director of Infiniti Canada.

“Formula One quickly evolved into a cornerstone of our business strategy since Infiniti first partnered with Red Bull Racing in 2011.

“Having Nicholas on the Renault Sport Formula One Team for the year ahead is an exciting prospect, as Infiniti continues to grow its presence in Canada with an expanding lineup, and now a Canadian driver with boundless talent.”

Latifi comes to the team which sees Infiniti as the technical partner of Renault which means Infiniti is using its expertise in performance hybrids to help in the co-development of the Renault Energy F1 Power Unit’s Energy Recovery System (ERS), which incorporates two motor generator units, the MGU-H and MGU-K, and a battery.

In return, Infiniti will use the experience from the F1 ERS system to further enhance its hybrid powertrains for road cars.

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