Williams has confirmed that Nicholas Latifi will replace Robert Kubica in its line-up for the 2020 Formula 1 season. 

The move had been expected after Kubica announced during the Singapore Grand Prix that he would be departing the British squad at the end of his comeback campaign, but was formally announced on Thursday morning ahead of this weekend's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

Latifi was the leading candidate to replace Kubica due to his role as reserve driver for Williams, in which he has taken part in six FP1 practice outings for the team throughout 2019 and helped with the development of the FW42 and FW43. 

The 24-year-old Canadian sits second in this year's Formula 2 championship standings and is in pole position to cement runner-up spot behind champion Nyck de Vries at Yas Marina

Latifi has claimed four victories in his third straight campaign in the series with the DAMS squad, in what has proven to be his most successful and competitive season to date. After carrying out test roles at Williams and Racing Point over the last two years, he will make his grand prix debut in 2020, partnering George Russell

"I am thrilled to be stepping up as race driver for 2020," Latifi said.

"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 1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix in 2020.”

Deputy team principal Claire Williams added Williams has been "immensely impressed" by Latifi's achievements in F2 this year, as well as the work he has carried out in his test role. 

“I am delighted to announce that Nicholas will be stepping up to the role of race driver to partner George in 2020," she said. 

"All of us at Williams have been immensely impressed at what he has achieved this year in FIA Formula 2, 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.”

Latifi's graduation to F1 finalises the grid for the 2020 season and also confirms Nico Hulkenberg's exit from the championship after 10 years in F1. The German has been replaced at Renault by Esteban Ocon for next year and has failed to land a seat elsewhere. 

 

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