Formula 1: Nicholas Latifi will leave Williams at the end of the season

Formula 1: Nicholas Latifi will leave Williams at the end of the season

Nicholas Latif
Nicholas Latifi replaced Robert Kubica at Williams in 2020

Nicholas Latifi will lose his seat at Williams at the end of the year.

The 27-year-old Canadian has raced with the team since the start of 2020 and has struggled to compete with teammates George Russell and Alex Albon.

Latifi said: “Although we have not achieved the results we hoped for, it has been a fantastic journey.”

Williams, who announced last month that Albon would stay with the team for 2023, said he would name the British-born Thai’s teammate in 2023 “in due course”.

Williams CEO and Team Principal Jost Capito said: “He is a great team player who has a great attitude towards his colleagues and his work, and is loved and respected throughout the company.

Latifi came to Williams with significant financial backing from his father, Canadian supermarket magnate Michael Latifi.

Williams’ career high point came at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, when he ended a two-year points drought for the team when he finished seventh at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

It was a race marred by a crash at the first corner and the rare sight of a single driver on the starting grid, leading to a change of order that saw Latifi running second in the opening laps, and he held on for his time. decisive.

Ironically, he finished one place ahead of Russell, who passed him 20 times in 22 races during the season.

“Getting those first points in Hungary last year was a moment I will never forget,” reflected Latifi.

“I will go into the next chapter of my career with special memories of my time with this dedicated team.”

Russell’s move to Mercedes at the end of 2021 failed to improve Latifi’s position – Albon outclassed him as comprehensively as the Brit did.

Who could replace Latifi?

Williams had hoped to replace Latifi with Australian Oscar Piastri.

Piastri, the reigning Formula 2 champion, is Alpine’s reserve driver this year but has opposed the team’s attempts to place him at Williams and will instead make his F1 debut for McLaren in 2023 alongside Lando Norris. .

Another option for Williams is Dutchman Nick De Vries, who finished ninth at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago when he was drafted at the last minute after Albon was hospitalized with appendicitis.

But De Vries, a Mercedes reserve driver and former champion of both Formula 2 and the all-electric Formula E series, is also in the field to move to Red Bull’s second team, Alpha Tauri.

Both Pierre Gasly and Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda are under contract at Alpha Tauri for next season, but the Frenchman is of interest to Alpine, who do not have a teammate for Esteban Ocon after losing Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin and Piastri to McLaren.

Red Bull motorsports adviser Helmut Marko, who makes the company’s driving decisions, is prepared to let Gasly go to Alpine if there is a suitable replacement.

Marko wanted IndyCar race winner Colton Herta but he is not eligible for an F1 ‘superlicence’, and de Vries has emerged as the frontrunner.

Other experienced drivers on the market for next season include Mick Schumacher, who is expected to lose his Haas seat, and Alfa Romeo and Ferrari reserve Antonio Giovinazzi.

Williams also has the option of promoting American Logan Sargeant, a member of its driver academy, who sits third in the F2 championship this season.

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