Mum’s the word for Nicholas Latifi, but reports suggest the Canadian’s promotion to a race seat at Williams for 2020 is signed and sealed.
Latifi enjoyed at the US Grand Prix on Friday his fifth free practice session of the year with Williams, although it anything but a smooth session for the 24-year-old.
“The conditions were tricky out there, it was cool and very bumpy, so I wasn’t taking any risks,” he said.
“Unfortunately, I only had two push laps because of a gearbox issue. It is an amazing track to drive, even with the little laps that I did. All in all, it was very enjoyable.”
Latifi has yet to wrap up his season in Formula 2 with DAMS, a task he hopes to complete in Abu Dhabi where he aims to protect his runner-up position in the championship behind already crowned champion Nyck de Vries.
But Latifi’s focus is likely already set on 2020 and on his full-time graduation to F1 with Williams.
“It’s too early to announce anything” a discrete Latifi told Le Journal de Montreal.
“After four years of F2, I need to move on to the next stage,” he added. “I’ll complete my campaign in Abu Dhabi, and after that it will be over.”
The Canadian newspaper’s report contends that a deal with Williams is signed and will be announced at the end of the month.
Claire Williams denied the British squad’s 2020 plans were set in stone but did confirm that the team would divulge its line-up after the end of the season.
“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 this year,” said Williams.
It was believed that Williams had an outside chance of signing Nico Hulkenberg for next season, but the outgoing Renault driver dismissed that prospect in Austin, insisting he wasn’t “the right person” for Williams.
With the German driver putting himself out of the picture, Latifi’s promotion is cut and dried, also helped according to Le Journal de Montréal by a hefty budget supplied by the young hopeful’s father, Canadian billionaire Michael Latifi who also happens to be a shareholder of McLaren Automotive.
One man who would be delighted to see Latifi join the F1 grid in 2020 is Canadian Grand Prix promoter François Dumontier.
“If Nicholas’ plans come to pass, I’ll obviously be the first one to be happy,” admitted the Canadian.
“It would be a historical moment as we’ve never had two Canadian drivers racing full-time in Formula 1.
“For all the fans that will visit the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in June of next year, it will be an opportunity to support a second driver [in addition to Lance Stroll].”