The long-time speculation about Nicholas Latifi’s future as a Grand Prix driver has been confirmed with yesterday’s announcement that Williams Racing and Latifi will part ways at the end of the 2022 Formula 1 season.
This also coincides with the conclusion of Latifi’s current contract with Williams.
The Canadian born Latifi made his Formula 1 debut with Williams Racing at the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix and has so far made 55 Grand Prix starts, scoring 7 championship points, including his debut points scoring finish at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.
27 year old Latifi was a relatively late convert to motor racing and after several years competing in some of Europe’s junior categories he graduated through to GP2/FIA F2.
Latifi was signed as Williams test and reserve driver in 2019 and drove the uncompetitive FW42 during six Grand Prix FP1 sessions. In 2019, his fourth full GP2/F2 campaign he finished as Formula 2 runner-up behind Nyck De Vries to secure his graduation to Grand Prix racing.
His nearly three years in F1 have seen very few highlights and his future with the team had long been talked about as being over at the end of this season.
So, when Nyck De Vries stepped into the Williams FW44 at Monza and with only 30 minutes in the car he was able to out-qualify Latifi and then score points in his first Grand Prix start, the end was soon to be confirmed.
Latifi said in the official Williams media release “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Williams Racing – all the people back at the factory and those I work with trackside – for the last three years.
“My initial F1 debut was postponed due to the pandemic but we eventually got going in Austria and, although we have not achieved the results together that we had hoped we would, it’s still been a fantastic journey.
“Getting those first points in Hungary last year was a moment I’ll never forget, and I will move onto the next chapter of my career with special memories of my time with this dedicated team.
“I know none of us will stop putting in every effort until the end of the season.”
Williams CEO and Team Principal Jost Capito said in the media release: “On behalf of the whole team, I would like to say an enormous thank you to Nicholas for his three years of hard work with Williams.
“He is a great team player who has a great attitude towards his colleagues and work and is well liked and respected throughout the business. Our time together is now coming to an end, but I know he will put full effort in to maximize what we can do together for the remainder of this season.
“We wish him all the best of luck for his future, both in and out of the cockpit,” Capito concluded.
After confirming that Alex Albon will continue for next year and beyond, Williams Racing have yet to confirm the full 2023 driver line-up, but there are plenty of possible candidates for Latifi’s seat.
Following his strong performance at Monza, Nyck De Vries is a strong candidate for the seat, but the Dutchman is also linked with AlphaTauri, as a possible replacement for Pierre Gasly who is working hard to get to a seat at Alpine.
Williams junior driver Logan Sargeant. The American driver is currently competing in FIA F2 but needs to finish strongly to gain enough points to obtain a super license.
Other drivers mentioned as candidates for the second Williams seat include Antonio Giovinazzi and Mick Schumacher.
Daniel Ricciardo is also yet to find a seat for the 2023 Formula 1 season, so he also remains a possibility.