Nicholas Latifi insists he is keeping focused on the task on hand in Formula 2 despite increased links to Formula 1.

Latifi has endured a difficult start to the 2018 F2 campaign and sits 10th in the drivers’ standings, 45 points adrift of DAMS teammate Alexander Albon, who has thrust himself into early title contention with a breakthrough win and hat-trick of pole positions.

Alongside his F2 commitments, the Canadian is acting as Force India’s development driver this season and took part in his first F1 outing during a grand prix weekend at the last race in Canada, setting the 19th-fastest time in FP1.

Latifi, whose best result from the opening four rounds came in Baku thanks to a podium finish, says he is determined to turnaround his fortunes with the 22-year-old needing a top five finish in the 2018 championship in order to secure the 20 points he requires to qualify for a Super Licence - opening the door for possible participation in F1.

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“I’d like to arrive in a Formula 1 seat sooner rather than later,” Latifi told Crash.net. “I know that at the end of the day, first and foremost it’s dependent on my performance in Formula 2 and nothing else really, because I need my Super Licence.

“I have 20 of the points, so if I finish I think a minimum of fifth again, I get 20 points. Obviously I’m pushing for much more than that, but I think any driver in a situation like myself who is racing in Formula 2 and has a link to an F1 team, it’s always clear.

“I’m speaking for myself, but I’m pretty sure I can speak for the other drivers that F2 remains the priority, because really without the F2, it doesn’t really matter what happens in F1,” he added. “In all the FP1s I do, I can be faster than my teammate, but it doesn’t really matter if I don’t have my Super Licence, right?

“That’s the important thing, the focus is on that. We have a big stretch of races coming up which I’m excited for, and the outings I have in Formula 1 are really to supplement just track time and further the knowledge and the experience of it, so if I do eventually arrive in an F1 race seat, which is ultimately the goal that I’ve been working towards.”

A recent £200 million investment in the McLaren Group by his father, Michael Latifi, has led to speculation that the Canadian could be in line for a junior role at the Woking-based squad in the future.

Such claims were denied by McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, while Latifi moved to clear up the situation, insisting the investment was a “pure commercial opportunity” that has no bearing on his racing career.

Latifi added he wants to get to F1 “on merit” due to his on-track performances and achievements, rather than via financial means.

“In reality, as much as it seems from the outside to the general public, it really has no involvement in my racing career,” he explained. It was a pure commercial opportunity for my dad, something he’s quite passionate about and has been for a long time.

“Ultimately if I get to Formula 1, I want to do it based off my performances on-track, getting there on merit and earning it. You can’t put two and two together. As much as it seems from the outside, that’s the situation.”

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