Nicholas Latifi has been announced as a new test driver for the Renault Sport F1 team and will take part in an extensive development programme as well as 'at least one free practice session' in 2016.
The 20-year-old Canadian is preparing for his first full GP2 campaign with championship winners DAMS and will combine his season with a new test role with the French manufacturer.
Latifi, who has also graduated from the Euro F3 and formerly-known Formula Renault 3.5 Series, is expected to be handed at least one FP1 session in the RS16 this season as part of his deal and is thrilled to be joining the factory squad upon its return to F1 as a fully-fledged team.
"Being named test driver for the Renault Sport Formula One Team is something very special – an amazing opportunity,” Latifi said. “There's a lot of history behind the Renault name in F1, so to be a part of that, and get the chance to learn from them and gain expertise in a full factory team, is really going to help my development.
"My dream has always been to reach Formula One. There's a lot of hard work still to do, but this is another step towards me fulfilling my potential and earning my place on the grid.
"F1 is totally unlike any other category of motorsport, so being immersed in that environment I'll be a bit like a sponge – absorbing as much information as possible. Hopefully, I can apply a lot of what I learn to my racing in GP2 this season."
Frederic Vasseur, Renault's racing director, has welcomed Latifi with open arms to the team is confident the new deal will increase his development on his burgeoning racing career.
“Nicholas is a fast-developing young talent who has competed in a diverse selection of championships in his short career to date,” Vasseur said. “We are excited at the prospect of nurturing him into a Formula One-ready entity at such a dynamic time for the team.
"As well as contesting the GP2 Series – which is a perfect proving ground for new drivers – Nicholas will go through a programme with us to attain his Super Licence with a view to contesting at least one FP1 session this year. We're proud to have him on board.”
Latifi will work as understudy to Renault's drivers Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen as well as the team's third and reserve driver Esteban Ocon.