A “super-excited” Nicholas Latifi will finally receive the upgrades that will see his FW44 be on equal-terms with team-mate Alex Albon at this weekend’s French Grand Prix.
The Canadian driver has had to wait two races to have the upgrades fitted to his car, with Albon having received the package at the British Grand Prix.
It comes at a time when Latifi is desperate for good results, with his career in Formula 1 barely hanging by a thread.
It’s highly expected that Latifi will be dropped by Williams Racing at the end of the season, and potentially replaced by Alpine F1 Team reserve driver Oscar Piastri.
However, Latifi still has time to give Williams a headache over their 2023 line-up, with the new upgrades giving him the best opportunity to fight for points.
Latifi is hopeful that the upgrades will help give him “that extra bit” of pace, with the new parts having produced some “encouraging feedback” on his team-mate’s car.
“I’m super-excited to get to France because it’s the first race where I will have the upgrade package,” Latifi said ahead of the Paul Ricard weekend.
“We’ve seen some positive signs from it on Alex’s car so far, so I’m looking forward to getting my first taste.
“Hopefully, it can bring us that extra bit of relative pace we’ve missed and put us more in the fight.
“France has a unique track layout with lots of run-off areas, so track limits might be a bit of an issue, as in Austria. More than anything, I’m looking forward to continuing the development of the car and hopefully we can get some good data going forward.”
Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson confirmed that the parts would be fitted to Latifi’s car, despite there being concerns that Albon’s crash on the opening lap of the British GP would delay Latifi getting the new parts.
“Having introduced some new parts to Alex’s car over the last couple of races, we are now in a position where both cars can run with the upgrades,” Robson confirmed.
“Although the weather at Silverstone and the sprint format in Austria were not ideal for testing, we have seen enough encouraging feedback to be confident we have taken a step forward.”
Latifi won’t have any rain to worry about at the Circuit Paul Ricard this weekend, with a heatwave sweeping across Europe.
It means Latifi will have “dry and stable” conditions to test the new parts, something Albon certainly didn’t have at Silverstone.
“With the weather likely to be warm, dry and stable this weekend, we will look to use Friday’s running to get Nicky up to speed with the new parts and also to continue to understand how best to exploit the performance of the new package,” Robson explained.