Tagged in: Formula One

Williams confirm F2 driver Latifi will replace Kubica

The Formula One grid for next season is done after Williams confirmed its reserve driver Nicholas Latifi will replace Robert Kubica.

Latifi is to step up from Formula Two to make his F1 debut in 2020 after Kubica decided to vacate his seat following the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend. 

Canadian Latifi, who has also been a test driver for Renault and Force India, is second in the F2 championship with one round to go.

The 24-year-old had been expected to partner George Russell next year and his promotion was announced by the British team on Friday.

“I am thrilled to be stepping up as Race Driver for 2020,” said Latifi.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the team this year, supporting them with the development of the car, and assisting wherever I can trackside and at the factory.

“I look forward to the journey ahead with the team, and I am excited to make my Formula One debut at the Australian Grand Prix in 2020.”

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Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams said: “I am delighted to announce that Nicholas will be stepping up to the role of race driver to partner George in 2020.

“All of us at Williams have been immensely impressed at what he has achieved this year in FIA Formula Two, along with his commitment to the team, and the work that he has put in behind the scenes.

“Nicholas has become an established and well-respected member of Williams, and we look forward to him stepping up into this new role, as we look to fight our way back to the midfield.”

Williams has endured the worst season in its history this year after it failed to get its car ready for the opening pre-season test and was forced to play catch up for the rest of the season.

The team has often qualified multiple seconds off the pace and has only scored one point all season when Kubica snatched a tenth place finish in Germany once both Alfa Romeos were penalised over a technical infringement.

Latifi has received substantial financial backing from his family throughout his career and his father, Michael, holds 10 percent of McLaren’s holding company.

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Hamilton acquires his sixth-straight Formula One Championship

Lewis Hamilton can be ranked among the best drivers to ever get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car. At this year’s United States Grand Prix, Hamilton further cemented his on-going legacy by clinching his sixth world drivers title with two races to go in the 2019 season.

Not only that, this is also Hamilton’s third championship in a row. Among the current crop of drivers, Only Sebastian Vettel has the most successive titles with four in a row.

Six titles also means that Hamilton has also defeated Juan Manuel Fangio in the most number of titles, and is now only one behind Michael Schumacher who has seven. Ever since the start of the turbo-hybrid era, the combination of Hamilton and Mercedes-AMG have been dominating the sport.

Just two weeks ago, the team bagged the constructor’s championship, their sixth straight title. That record places them tied with McLaren with most consecutive constructor’s championships.

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Hamilton’s season started off strong by finishing in the top two spots over the span of eight races.

He never suffered a single retirement this year, and placed in the points in the 19 races run so far. Aside from one particularly disastrous round during the German Grand Prix where he finished ninth, Hamilton would always be in the top five finishers.

Next year will be the last of the existing generation of Formula 1 cars. While there is no question that Mercedes-AMG and Lewis Hamilton will still be a force to be reckoned with in 2020, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the field will adapt to the new car and rule changes by 2021. 

The Circuit of the Americas had a special parking spot next to the podium reserved for the championship car.

There was only one car that could be. It was a silver Mercedes No. 44. “I remember watching this sport when I was younger,” Hamilton said. “It’s beyond surreal to think that this journey, that my life journey has brought me to this point.”

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