Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

Williams confirm rookie Latifi as Russell’s team mate for 2020

2020 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Williams has confirmed Nicholas Latifi will make his debut for the team as a race driver next year.

The 24-year-old rookie, who has appeared in six practice sessions for Williams this year, will drive alongside George Russell.

Latifi has won four races in Formula 2 this year. He lies second in the championship with this weekend’s round in Abu Dhabi remaining. The title has already been won by Nyck de Vries.

“All of us at Williams have been immensely impressed at what he has achieved this year in Formula 2 along with his commitment to the team and the work that he has put in behind the scenes,” said Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams.

“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.”

“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,” said Latifi. “I look forward to the journey ahead with the team, and I am excited to make my Formula One debut at the Australian Grand Prix in 2020.”

Williams’ announcement means all 20 seats on the F1 grid for 2020 have now been filled. Latifi will be the only newcomer to the championship next year.

View the current list of 2020 F1 drivers and teams

Don't miss anything new from RaceFans

Follow RaceFans on social media:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

33 comments on “Williams confirm rookie Latifi as Russell’s team mate for 2020”

  1. A fully expected choice. Unsurprising.

    1. Unsurprising, but still underwhelming.

  2. A driver like Nyck de Vries wasn’t even asked for a F1 seat so he went to FE a bit sad affair. It’s all money I am afraid.

    1. More like Stroll pre-Alpha.

    2. At least Stroll won F3. Latifi’s best effort in that series, when he was a year older than Stroll was, was 10th.

  3. Cristiano Ferreira
    28th November 2019, 8:28

    Well it was expected, at least now we’ll be able to see if Russel is good or not because now he will have a proper teammate.

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      28th November 2019, 8:39

      Nah, this just another Canadian pay driver.
      The last one got Williams a podium, but I’m not expecting much

  4. Oh Canada, the home of the paydriver. Shame. Embarassing that in this era of massive F1 budgets and worldwide viewership, two of the twenty ‘best’ drivers in the world are far, far from it, and only there on the basis of the money they bring.

    1. my take on this is, it’s supply and demand…

      1. I supply the money and then demand a seat?

  5. That’s it. Nico Hulkenberg is out for 2020. I really thought Williams would pick him up.

    1. @sunnchilde – I’m content to see him go. A good driver but has proved to not be among the best, so there’s no reason for him to continue at the pinnacle. He’s not as good as Ricciardo and frequently “chokes” when opportunities arise. In a great car perhaps things would have been different, but I don’t think I’ll miss him. With few seats in F1 these days, better to try out someone who might be among the best, such as Esteban Ocon.

      Williams and Hulkenberg in their current situations is not a good fit. Hulkenberg has no interest in being at the back and Williams need drivers in it for the long run.

      1. agree, Hulk has a big fanbase but they ignore his poor results for so long.

      2. I kinda feel I also won’t end up missing him in the grid, even recognizing it’s a shame his departure. I think if he’s not to get a decent seat, he’d better be gone after all. That’s why I’d like to see him apply for Mercedes 2021. Anyway, the show must go on.

    2. they don’t need great drivers, Williams needs the money. Kubica had some backing, but probably Latifi has more.

    3. That’s it. Nico Hulkenberg is out for 2020. I really thought Williams would pick him up.

      Williams needed the pay and Hulk didnt want to drive for the slowest team on the grid. It was a non-starter from either side.

      1. We can’t totally confirm that they will be the slowest next year though. For a long time now, so much of their focus has been on next year that I do expect that at certain tracks, they could well not be last any more.

  6. Latifi is better than he gets credit for. Yes, he’s a pay driver. Yes, he’s older than most “rookies”. Yes, he’s been in Formula 2/GP2 for “too long”. It’s clear that he’s not a Hamilton/Vettel/Verstappen/Leclerc, but he’s good enough for Williams.

    The car is the problem. We know Russell is probably as good as Norris, so would be capable of strong finishes if the car is good, so he’ll be a good barometer for them. If the car is not good and Russell can’t score points, then a poor second driver is the least of their worries. Better to take the cash and attempt to build for the future. If the car is good, then I’m sure Latifi will chip in with some points. The last thing they want is someone like Alonso or Hulkenberg putting pressure on them before they’re ready.

    I would have made the same decision as Williams in their current situation.

    1. He’s not though. He gets credit from sycophants like the enclosed link and he gets credit by, you know, reaching F1. He’s unworthy of F1. He hasn’t shown anything before GP2 and in GP2 he only ‘got good’ because of experience. He is as bad as detractors say.

      1. @hahostolze – I disagree. As I said, he’s clearly not a great and never will be. He is a perfectly competent racing driver who will probably lap around 0.3-0.5 seconds a lap slower than Russell. Williams don’t need anything more at the moment. He brings money (critical for Williams) and he rarely puts the car in the wall, which will protect parts.

        He’s “unworthy” of the top teams in F1, but is highly necessary for a team like Williams. Pay drivers have always been a part of the sport.

        1. I see what you’re saying. You’re saying that because Williams have a dreadful car, they just need someone to bring a lot of money and not crash it. But at any other team, being that far off your teammate would end up with you being sacked. If Williams weren’t so bad, if they were able to compete with other teams, Latifi would be an awful choice.

          1. @hugh11 ‘But at any other team, being that far off your teammate would end up with you being sacked’

            Well, apart from at Racing Point…

        2. I mean other than Hulkenberg there wasn’t much in the market and Williams don’t want to be paying for a driver next year. Its clear that they are gonig to roll out with a car and then start work on 2021 asap – they don’t have a good knowledge base to work off of for 2020 so I really don’t expect them to catch up to the pack next year. I hope I’m wrong but the obvious choice is to cut their losses on this era and concentrate on the next – its what they did with the move to the V6 enginges. They ran Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado for budget and then put Bottas in for a learning year prior to the rules change and came out swininging.

          Thus put Rusell (who on prior evidence should wipe the floor with Latifi) up against a GP2 driver with budget and give them both another learning year. I’d imgaine Latifi will get given the boot if the car gets good and he comes up short.

    2. +1 @ben-n

      He’s definitely the right choice for Williams at the moment.

      You can’t start a fire with 2 logs but maybe one log and then a match with some kindling.
      Then get another log when your fire is going and maybe some coal after that ( = a Verstappen, Hamilton etc.)

      Pretty convoluted that metaphor but I think it works :)

  7. Latifi moving from F2 to F1.95 (Williams’ class of two) – seems legit.

  8. Underwhelming and expected announcement. Does anyone really expect him to give Russell any trouble or is he literally just there for the money?

  9. Unsurprisingly very disappointed. Williams making the same errors again and again, Latifi is a poor driver that never shown anything and one cannot develop a car with a poor driver. Unlike some comments here I think it’s a big mistake, all it’s about is short term cash. I don’t see them being anything else than last with a good sophomore driver and a bad rookie. Hulkenberg would have brought so much to the team but we’re stuck with yet another poor pay driver.

    Only positive is for Stroll. He’ll probably be the second-worst driver now, but even that remains to be seen.

  10. I see why most are not surprised and some disappointed with this hire.
    What I like to see is If Latifi can give Russell some competition.
    What if he beats Russell on regular basis in Qualifying and in the Race. Wonder how Russell would cope with that and how Mercedes would look at that.

  11. Hulk! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!AARGHHH!!

    All seats are gone!

  12. Yes! Two Canucks on the grid. I’m curious to see who’ll do better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.