Force India sign Nicholas Latifi as 2018 F1 test and reserve driver
F2 race winner to feature in a "number of" Friday practice sessions
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 05/01/18 1:52pm
Force India have signed Canadian Nicholas Latifi as reserve and test driver for the 2018 F1 season.
The 22-year-old Latifi will provide back up to race drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon and appear in "a number of" Friday practice sessions during the year, in addition to in-season tests.
Latifi finished fifth in last year's Formula 2 championship, winning at Silverstone, and had been linked with a similar role at Williams.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity," said Latifi.
"Sahara Force India is a team that has shown constant improvement for the last few years and I'm proud to become a part of one of the success stories of Formula 1. I am eager to show the team what I can do and help them as they continue to close the gap to the front of the grid."
Latifi made his F1 test debut with Renault in last August's Budapest test and is set to get similar in-season run-outs for Force India this year.
"Nicholas joins us off the back of a strong season in F2 and strengthens our driver development programme," said team boss Vijay Mallya.
"He will support our simulator programme and work with the team during a number of Friday practice sessions next year. We have a long track record of bringing on young talented drivers and Nicholas will learn a huge amount as he gets embedded in the team, and looks forward to a career in Formula 1."
Nico Hulkenberg, Paul Di Resta and the late Jules Bianchi have all previously used the Force India reserve role as springboards to full-time F1 race seats.
British youngster George Russell had been in the running for the 2018 Force India position after the Mercedes junior impressed for the team in two practice outings at the end of last season.
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