Nicholas Latifi is an Iranian-Canadian driver currently competing for Williams in Formula One under the Canadian flag. He was signed by Renault as a test driver for the 2016 season. Latifi made his Grand Prix weekend debut in Canada with Force India in 2018. Latifi made his Formula One debut in the 2020 season-opening Austrian Grand Prix with Williams.
Nicholas Latifi was born on 29 June 1995 to an Iranian-Canadian businessman, Michael Latifi, and his wife Maria Helena Russo. Michael Latifi is the owner of Sofina Foods Inc. and has a stake in the McLaren group. Nicholas Latifi started karting at a rather late age of 13 years and moved to single-seater racing in 2012.
Nicholas Latifi’s Career Before Formula 1
Latifi started karting in 2009 and finished as runner-up in the Rotax Junior class of the 2010 Canadian National Karting Championship. Competing in the North American series’, Latifi won the 2012 Florida Winter Tour Championship in the Rotax DD2 class. He also competed in the 2015 Florida Winter Tour in the Shifter ROK class.
Formula 3 (2012-2014)
Latifi made his single-seater debut in the 2012 Italian Formula 3 Championship driving for BVM. With one win and three other podium positions, Latifi ended the championship in seventh place. In 2013 he competed in the 2013 Toyota Racing Series and ended up ninth in the championship with a 6th place finish in Timaru as his best achievement.
In 2013, Latifi also competed in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with Carlin. He had 5th place finishes at Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring and finished 15th in the championship. In the Britsh Formula 3 International Series, he earned a podium place at Brands Hatch and finished 5th with two pole positions. Latifi competed in the 2013 Masters of Formula 3 and finished 7th.
In 2014, Latifi joined Prema Power team to compete in Formula 3 alongside Esteban Ocon in the 2014 European Formula 3 Championship. A second-place finish at Silverstone was his best finish. He finished 10th in the championship after missing the last round as he was competing in Formula Renault 3.5.
Formula Renault 3.5 (2014)
Latifi switched to Tech 1 Racing in 2014 to compete in three rounds of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. In the final round at Jerez, he took second place. Latifi then competed in the full 2015 season with Arden Motorsport. He took one pole position and fourth place finishes at Spa-Francorchamps and the Red Bull ring. Latifi ended the season in 11th place.
Sports Car Racing (2012-2014)
Latifi entered the 2012 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge in a Ford Mustang GT. Driving for Redline Racing; he competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain at Rockingham. He earned a fourth-place finish in the second race after retiring in the first. In 2015, Latifi competed in four out of the eight rounds and took second place in the first round at Oulton Park
GP2 Series (2014-2016)
Hilmer Motorsport signed Latifi to replace Daniel Abt in the GP2 Series. Latifi made his GP2 debut at the Yas Marina Circuit in 2014 finishing 22nd and 17th in the two races. In 2015, Latifi participated in the GP2 Series with MP Motorsports in four rounds. He took 11th place as his best finish that year in Bahrain.
In 2016, Latifi partnered Alex Lynn at DAMS finishing second in the first race in Barcelona. He finished 7th in the sprint race the following day. Latifi got a tenth place finish at the Red Bull Ring and a 9th at the Yas Marina Circuit. He had only two more points’ finishes that season and finished the season in 16th place in the rankings.
Formula 2 Championship (2017-2018)
Latifi raced with the DAMS team alongside Oliver Rowland in 2017 in the newly rebranded Formula 2 Championship. He took his maiden Formula 2 podium in the sprint race in Barcelona also recording the fastest lap along the way. In Baku, Latifi finished 3rd in both races and a career-best 2nd in the feature race at the Red Bull Ring.
At Silverstone, Latifi took victory in the sprint race, his first win in any race since 2012. Two fastest laps along with victories came in the feature races at Hungaroring and at Monza. A second place in the sprint race followed in Jerez. In the last round in Abu Dhabi, Latifi recorded the fastest lap and finished 3rd in the race to finish the season in fifth place.
Latifi persisted with DAMS for the 2018 season, this time with Alexander Albon as his partner. Earning his first podium place of the season at Baku, he took his second Formula 2 victory at Spa-Francorchamps while also recording the fastest lap in the sprints event. A second-place finish in the feature race in Sochi saw Latifi ending the season in 9th place, six places behind his teammate Albon.
Latifi continued with DAMS for the fourth straight season partnering with the Brazilian, Sérgio Sette Câmara in 2019. He took a victory in the very first round in Bahrain. Two more victories followed in the following two rounds in Baku and Barcelona. While he won the feature races in Bahrain and Barcelona, he won in the sprint race in Baku.
From a lead of 30 points in the championship after the first three rounds, Latifi won a podium place only at Silverstone, finishing second in the feature event. He took his next and last victory in the feature race at Hungaroring and failed to score any points in Monza. By this time Nyck de Vries had taken a sizeable lead in the championship.
Latifi won two second-place finishes in the sprint races at Sochi and the Yas Marina Circuit. Latifi ended the season as runner-up to Nyck de Vries with 214 points to de Vries’ 266. He was ten points and two places ahead of his teammate Sérgio Sette Câmara.
Nicholas Latifi’s Career In Formula 1
Nicholas Latifi was recruited as a Formula One test driver by Renault in 2016. He completed 140 laps at Silverstone testing a Formula One car that year. In 2017, Latifi first tested an in-use Formula One car, a Renault R.S.17, completing 141 laps in a post-race test in Barcelona. He tested again for Renault at the Hungaroring.
Force India announced that Latifi would be their test and reserve driver for the 2018 season. At his home circuit in Canada, Latifi made his Formula One weekend debut in the first practice session. That year he made four more first practice session appearances for Force India. Williams signed Latifi for the 2019 season and he appeared in six practice sessions for the team.
Nicholas Latifi raced for Williams in the 2020 Formula One World Championship replacing Robert Kubica. He had the former Formula 2 champion George Russell as his partner. In one of the slowest cars in the competition, Latifi often found himself coaxing the car for speed. He was not able to score a single point during the season. He made his debut in Austria and finished 11th.
Latifi narrowly missed scoring points thrice in the championship when he finished 11th. His partner, George Russel scored his only three points driving a Mercedes when he replaced Lewis Hamilton. Latifi finished 21st in the championship ahead of Jack Aitken and Pietro Fittipaldi who had contested in only one and two races respectively.
Williams has retained both Nicholas Latifi and George Russell for the 2021 Formula One season.