nicholas latifi

Nicholas Latifi is shifting gears

Formula One’s only rookie of the year has had the strangest debut season in history

You’ve got to feel for Nicholas Latifi. You really do. Because, all things considered, 2020 was really shaping up to be his year. Back in the heady heights of January — when the rest of us were nursing New Year’s hangovers and writing down resolutions we’d never keep — the young Canadian was steeling himself for the debut of a lifetime.

He’d just inked a new contract; to race for Williams in this year’s Formula One World Championship. He’d snagged the rare and covetable title of ‘sole newcomer’ on this year’s grid. And he had, we can only imagine, picked up his race suit from the dry cleaners and hung it proudly on the back of his bedroom door. He could probably already hear the crowds in his head: Latifi! Latifi! Latifi!

But the crowds never came — not through any fault of Latifi’s, of course. March arrived and the world locked down. The Canadian, along with his fellow Formula One racers, were left adrift in Australia. He had no race to run, no fans to win, and no chance of taking a shower in a spray of expensive champagne. The brakes, as it were, had been slammed on.

nicholas latifi

“For sure, it was disappointing!” says Latifi. “But, you know, it’s the same situation for everyone. I’ve just been trying to stay sharp. I’ve been doing a lot of physical training, I’ve been getting into eSports, and home simulator driving. And it feels like quite a long time now since I got home from Melbourne.”

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