Jean-Paul Driot’s Le Mans-based outfit have established themselves as one of the premier teams in the Formula 1 feeder series, winning three drivers’ titles, two teams’ titles and a total of 25 races since the championship’s inception in 2005.
After ranking fifth in the teams’ standings last year, taking three race victories, the squad harbours ambitions of returning to the top in 2017, while the two second-year drivers aspire to follow in the footsteps of DAMS hall-of-fame members Romain Grosjean, Davide Valsecchi and Jolyon Palmer.
21-year-old Latifi returns to DAMS after showing promise in his first full season last year.
After stepping up from the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, Latifi marked his first start for the team with a podium finish in Catalunya, adding three further points finishes during the season as he continued to make progress on the tyres knowledge. Another highlight came at Silverstone, where he qualified an excellent third.
The Canadian driver will only benefit from the continuity of working with the same engineers for a second season and hinted at his potential by setting the fastest time of all during testing at Abu Dhabi last year.
24-year-old Rowland becomes the third British driver to race for DAMS in GP2, after 2014 champion Palmer and Alex Lynn, who won five times in two seasons with the team.
A graduate of the Racing Steps Foundation, Rowland won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship in 2015 and gained further experience in Formula E before stepping up to GP2 last year. In his first season, Rowland impressed by finishing on the podium four times, including both races at his home circuit, Silverstone.
Upon joining DAMS for the Abu Dhabi test, Rowland quickly settled into the team and signalled his intent for the year ahead by topping the timesheets on the second day.
Jean-Paul Driot: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Nicholas for a second season. He demonstrated his pace during his first full season in GP2, especially during qualifying, but we lacked a bit of understanding of tyre management and this cost us a bit for race results. Nicholas works exceptionally hard and we can count on his motivation to transform the potential we have seen into tangible results."
“We have followed Oliver’s performances with great interest for a long time and he was a fierce competitor in Formula Renault 3.5, so we are very aware of his talent and excited to see what he can do in one of our cars. For Oliver and Nicholas, this season will be their second in GP2, so our ambition is absolutely to fight for the Teams’ and Drivers’ titles.”
Nicholas Latifi: “Our big goal is to be consistently running at the front and having a better result in the championship than we did last year. I’m really happy to be in this team for the second season in a row, because I already have an established working relationship with everybody. That will help me a lot, especially as you don’t get a lot of track time in GP2 and you’re always having to adapt to the conditions. I know where we have to improve and the team knows where I have to as well. I’ve already made my first visit to the workshop this year and everyone is extremely motivated. There’s definitely a really positive feeling in the team about the upcoming season.”
Oliver Rowland: “The overall aim is to go and dominate the championship, that’s my personal target and is shared by the team. DAMS have won championships in previous years with Valsecchi, Grosjean and Palmer, so I’m coming to an outfit with a lot of pedigree and I’ll have to make sure I’m at the top of my game. Last year was my first year and with the tyres it was sometimes difficult, but there were lots of positives and I had some good results. Going into this year, I’ve got a lot better with my approach going into each race, so I’m looking forward to putting it into place. Everyone has been great so far and I’m excited to working with Nicholas to push the team forward.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing