Latifi and Mazepin to drive for Force India during first in-season test
Nicholas Latifi will get his first chance to shine in the VJM11 later this month, when Force India’s reserve and test driver takes part in the first in-season test session of the Formula 1 season. Mercedes youngster George Russell and Russian racer Nikita Mazepin, meanwhile, will also make appearances for the team following the Spanish Grand Prix.
The two-day test, which immediately follows the fifth round of the championship in Barcelona, will be the first time highly-rated Latifi has the opportunity to work with the team trackside.
Canada's F1 hopeful, who finished fifth in last year’s Formula 2 championship and sits eighth in the 2018 standings, made his F1 test debut with Renault in last August's Budapest test and has already been pencilled in to take part in several Friday practice sessions for Force India this term – the first of which will be at his home race in Montreal next month.
Nikita Mazepin, the team’s development driver, will take over testing duties on the Wednesday as F1 teams tinker with their set-ups at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Pirelli’s 2018 tyre testing programme also takes place following the Spanish showdown, meaning a second VJM11 will run at the test.
And that will give Russell, winner of the F2 sprint race in Baku last weekend, a run out on the track. The Brit will kick off proceedings on the Tuesday before Latifi takes his seat a day later.
It won't be the first time Russell, who will be hoping to continue his development with an eye on a future F1 seat, has been rewarded with a drive by Force India – the Briton made an appearance for the team in FP1 at the Brazilian GP last November.