Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Interlagos, 2019

Williams didn’t want to distract Latifi from F2 campaign with early deal

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In the round-up: Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams says the team didn’t want to distract its reserve driver Nicholas Latifi from his Formula 2 commitments by concluding his F1 seat deal earlier in the year.

What they say

[icon2019autocoursempu]Latifi was announced last week as the team’s new driver for the 2020 F1 season alongside George Russell. He will test for them at Yas Marina tomorrow:

We’re really excited that we’ve been able to announce this. It’s obviously been a long time coming. Not so much of a surprise for anybody, but we’re really pleased that Nicholas is going to step up next year and something that we have been or have had under consideration for a while, [we’ve had] a lot of conversations internally and obviously with Nicholas as well.

We also wanted to afford Nicholas for the opportunity to continue the F2 campaign and focus on that rather than being distracted by any earlier kind of announcement. But it probably was an inevitability and one that we’re really delighted about and really looking forward to seeing how Nicholas does next year.

He’s been a fantastic part of the team this year as our reserve driver. He’s done a number of [first practice] sessions and test days.

I think he just has the right kind of personality as well that we’re looking for in our drivers at Williams, so [I’m] really pleased.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Does Zandvoort’s final corner need to be banked?

I really don’t like how the addition of the banking at the final corner seems to be done purely to extend the DRS zone.

Altering the circuit to be able to use an artificial gimmick that will hopefully not even be around beyond next year isn’t something that circuits should be doing in my opinion.

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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...

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16 comments on “Williams didn’t want to distract Latifi from F2 campaign with early deal”

  1. Law of unintended consequences. By banking the turn at Zandvoort’s they have to raise the tire pressure. So now the cars will be in a untested, or little used, configuration. Maybe this was done to throw randomness into the race. Is Bernie still around?

  2. I think williams just kept rejecting latifi’s money as long as they could just to guarantee they got as much out of him as they could. It is not like latifi had options.

  3. We also wanted to afford Nicholas for the opportunity to continue the F2 campaign and focus on that rather than being distracted by any earlier kind of announcement.

    Also… his first payment to the team just cleared the bank.

  4. ”I really don’t like how the addition of the banking at the final corner seems to be done purely to extend the DRS zone.”
    – Again, the DRS-zone on the S/F straight won’t be able to start any earlier than the exit of the last corner given its steepness and high-speed nature, which combined with DRS isn’t a workable mix. Silverstone’s Abbey steeps less, and yet it was still problematic with DRS, so it’d only be worse with Zandvoort’s banker. 130R and Blanchimont also steep less, and the same with Suzuka’s full-throttle stretch between the hairpin and Spoon, which has never become an activation zone.

    1. I kinda like that banking. It’s something like Eau Rouge at Spa, 130R in Suzuka, it’s the one thing that comes to my mind about Zandvoort. Also in some way it has the same flow to Brands Hatch. Which isn’t a bad thing?

    2. @jerejj, I believe you may be misunderstanding how the banking influences the cars.

      A banked turn requires less steering input, which is why it is used so often on American ovals. Less steering input allows the cars to go faster and means it will be more like a “straight”. If a corner is sufficiently banked for them to drive flat out, it will likely mean they can have DRS open.

      The steeper the banking, the more usable DRS becomes. Hence the last corner having Daytona Speedway level banking.

      1. @jmwalley While I get what you’re meaning, I’ll stick with my point. Zandvoort’s banked final-corner doesn’t look like it could necessarily be taken flat-out with DRS-activated when looking at the images. Better to place the activation-point at the exit of the corner to eliminate any potential unnecessary safety risk that placing it earlier could bring in to the game.

        1. @jerejj, fair enough. Regardless, I hope the banking improves the racing and ability to overtake. I am hopeful, but time will tell.

        2. I could be wrong, but isn’t the activation point after the banking? I thought this was to make it possible to be close enough to take advantage of it by allowing multiple lines and for cars to follow closer through it since the straight is so short.

  5. This Latifi guy, what has he achieved so far?
    Is he really that ‘average’ as the stats make me believe?
    – He’s older than most current F1 drivers yet has never won a series he raced in.
    – His first year in F3 he ended up behind Wehrlein (who only raced in 10% of the events) and was handsomely beaten by Kvyat in the same car.
    – The next year he was hopelessly 10th, beaten by Ocon, Verstappen and Giovinazzi. Even within his championship-winning team, he was only 3rd best.
    – When driving in FR3.5 he never finished ahead of Mehri; later in F2 Merhi also finished ahead more often than not.
    – And now in F2 he needs 3 full seasons (and the best car) to end as runner-up in the series, whilst being beaten along the way by: Leclerc, Russell, Norris, Albon.

    I’m very disappointed about Williams. Have they fallen so far that this is the best they can get?

    1. Very interesting stats, @coldfly, and seems to tie in with @jimmi-cynic ‘s comment :)

      1. Thanks, @phylyp. In our loose concord agreement, @coldfly handles the sporting side, while I prey on the commercial angles. ;-)

    2. It’s difficult to judge Latifi. He came to car racing very late, unlike most of the drivers who he has competed against in the junior categories. Maybe someone like Damon Hill is a fair comparison – he entered F1 in his late 20s after a junior career where his results ween’t spectacular.

      1. @georgeod Early-30s actually. He debuted in F1 in 1992, the year in which he turned 32.

  6. We also wanted to afford Nicholas

    And Nicholas wanted to afford you. And he could. Match made in heaven.

  7. How are we supposed to take the W Series seriously when the champion only gets a drive in Asian F3

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