Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

‘Two bad years doesn’t define Williams’ legacy’ – Latifi

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In the round-up: Williams newcomer Nicholas Latifi says he has faith in the team to put its poor showing in the last two seasons behind them.

What they say

Latifi will be the only rookie driver on the grid this year:

I think going into Formula 1 as a rookie is always going to be difficult. It has its own challenges. I think I’m joining a great team for a first year. They have a history of developing young drivers.

It’s one of the most successful teams in Formula 1 history. I think two bad years doesn’t define a team’s legacy, doesn’t define what they’re capable of.

So I have complete faith in everyone. And from what I’ve seen so far working in the team that we will get on top of the problems and hopefully be back to a more competitive running order. I’m just looking forward to doing my part, anything I can next year to help do that.

For sure there’s going to be challenges. I’m definitely not underestimating what the challenge of Formula 1 will be. I know I’m going to have a lot to learn.

But I have had the opportunity to have quite a few on-track opportunities with them. I know what to expect with the car, I feel good in the team. The team environment, right from the first day, I felt kind of at home and just able to be myself which I think is important when you when you are jumping into a new team, especially a Formula 1 team with so many people you’re working with.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

This week’s Caption Competition winner is @Davids:

Dad, how long until we get to the part where you win a race?

Thanks to everyone who joined in this weekend, especially Steve Rogers, JC, Magnus Rubensson and Monosodico who all came up with excellent captions.

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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...

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23 comments on “‘Two bad years doesn’t define Williams’ legacy’ – Latifi”

  1. Latifi might be a rookie in F1, but he’s on point with his “for sure” game.

    Nice captions, all of those!

  2. I hope Alonso gets a ride for the 500, but I totally understand Honda’s veto, for which they are not at fault.
    Brilliant caption winner!

  3. Cristiano Ferreira
    3rd February 2020, 4:35

    Latifi, AKA Captain Obvious

  4. Ouch, sadly for Fernando, Honda appear to have elephantine memories.

    Aside from those harking back to the infamous “GP2 Engine” comment, I see this as something being more inline with the fact that Alonso has recently been heavily affiliated with their arch-rivals. Sure, there can be (more like is) bad blood due to the Mclaren debacle, but the “GP2 Engine” comment, which is disproportionately touted as the point where everything fell apart, happened in Honda’s first season back. Alonso, Mclaren and Honda continued to race together for another 2 years, which even included a run at Indy, sanctioned by Honda no less, considering they paid a large chunk of the driver’s wage.

    Alonso is no angel, neither are any of the other top line drivers on the grid. All of them kick off when things don’t go their way. This is not an excuse, nor am I condoning this type of behaviour, but even the most ardent of Alonso haters have to admit that he was upbeat about the team more times than not.

    The wheels came off in the end, Mclaren were equally at blame. I still feel that divorcing Honda was in the interest of Mclaren’s upper echelons. Honda was Ron’s deal, Ron was gone, they wanted to wipe the slate clean, start fresh, on their terms. When you have the warchest of sovereign nation backing you, perhaps losing a 100 million here and there can be tolerated (?). Blaming Alonso for the divorce and subsequent sour relationship, is a bit childish, to say the least. I doubt Zak Brown or Mansour Ojjeh are on Honda’s Christmas card list either.

    1. I don’t think anyone is saying that Alonso is wholly responsible, purely that he has burnt his bridges with Honda. To quote Uncle Ben, with great power comes great responsibility, and Alonso has a huge and influential worldwide audience. His comments hit home hard for Honda, and when you think back to the McLaren-Honda relationship, it’s his comments that you remember.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Honda weren’t keen to work with him again.

  5. Latifi made me laugh. 1997 really is 23 years ago. Not sure whether a reference to that time really makes sense or applies to todays team. From what I’ve seen from the Netflix movie on them, I do not see it turn around if not for some key personnel changes and reconsideration of their business model.

    1. Indeed, I do not want to be pessimistic, but I think at this point Williams needs a skeptic look through the whole team to see where it all goes wrong, because only looking at these last two years is closing your eyes to the full picture: issues they had to improve their car already from 2014 onwards, not to mention the earlier (2012?) decision to not further pursue the coanda exhaust after getting them not working and the many lackluster years where Rosberg already described the team as unpleasant to be in (and we know in the right team he managed to become a WDC, so it wasn’t just him!), including perhaps them having a double diffuser, but not being able to get a great car out of it, or even going back to the problems Montoya and Ralf Schumacher had in getting good results out of the car well over 10 years ago (like the walrus nose that had to be discarded).

      Two years do indeed not need to mean the team is a disaster; it’s more that it follows a long time of not being in the earlier nineties anymore, but seemingly not taking that on as a team and changing as needed to get with the times, much as I do admire the people in the team, and love to see them do well.

      1. @bosyber I couldn’t agree more with both of you.

    2. Yeah, I hope Latifi drives better than he counts.

      1. Come on, surely it was not Latifi’s place nor the time, as a newbie to F1 and the team, to go through all the negatives at Williams since they last won a WDC with JV. Of course he was going to gloss over the woes they have had other than in the most recent years and in this complex and expensive hybrid era that caught them and other smaller teams out.

        @bosyber Quite sure Claire already hinted at that a few years ago, that being looking at the whole team top to bottom to try to sort themselves out. As if they don’t know better than anyone where they are lacking and what needs to be addressed. It’s just not that easy when you have lesser resources and cannot react as quickly as the top teams. Hey I’m not trying to let them totally off the hook for not reacting quicker or making better decisions etc etc, but of course that is easy to say using the 20/20 of hindsight.

        1. Come on, surely it was not Latifi’s place nor the time, as a newbie to F1 and the team, to go through all the negatives at Williams since they last won a WDC with JV.

          Well, in my opinion, he shouldn’t be talking up Williams’ legacy being unaffected if his basic facts are wrong.

          the woes they have had other than in the most recent years and in this complex and expensive hybrid era that caught them […] out.

          It is not the “complex and expensive hybrid era” that has affected Williams. They continue to be powered by a top-of-the-line PU, one that in fact severely flattered their abilities in 2014/2015, while it was the other teams that were caught out.

          Let’s face facts – Williams have not been able to build a competitive chassis in ages, and that has nothing to do with the PU. They made their first attempt to move away from their low-drag philosophy we saw in 2014/2015, and we saw how that dropped them to the back of the grid. Paddy Lowe came in for attempt no. 2, and that car was even worse.

          1. @phylyp Talking up Williams legacy? Well as I said he wasn’t there to be Williams’ historian, and in the context of his verbiage this was not an opportunity for us to critique his knowledge of the team. This was a feel-good interview that should, and did, only have him being upbeat and positive about the team and his opportunity. If you want the cold hard facts about Williams’ last few decades, this was not the place to look for them, nor the person to expect them from.

            As to the hybrid era, it is folly to assume the 2014 change didn’t greatly affect Williams and the other lesser resourced teams. It greatly affected the ‘have‘ teams of RBR, Ferrari, and McLaren, so of course as a customer team like Williams, when the marriage of ultra expensive and complex pu’s to chassis has never been more crucial, they were always going to have an even bigger uphill battle than they had prior to the hybrid era. They have also lacked in staff, or put better, minds, in order to tackle the now crucial marriage between chassis and Pu that has only seen one works team able to truly do it the best.

            Yeah Williams has had several issues on their team for quite a while, and introducing the hybrid era and moving the competitive and financial goal posts in a detrimental way, was the last thing they needed. It is not that Williams hasn’t been able to build a competitive chassis in ages, it is that they haven’t been able to maximize the marriage between their chassis and the Mercedes Pu, just as the other Mercedes Pu cars besides the works one haven’t been able to either. Just as the much more resourced Renault still can’t do it as a works team. It is much more complex than simply building a good chassis. Obviously, or Williams would have done it by now.

  6. I wish they’d do well this season but the problems of Williams go all the way back to early 2000’s, even before parting ways with BMW. This team is in strong need of factory support but unfortunately (and thanks to the big names in F1) they are not gonna get it at least until 2026.

    1. I’d say their problems are probably what grew out of the reasons why BMW chose to go with Sauber instead of intensifying the Williams cooperation

  7. Alonso has brought it on himself. Revenge is best served cold, and from what I heard they like a good revenge story in Japan :)

    1. @montreal95

      I think a certain Mr Ghosn would agree with you!!

    2. @montreal95 Last time his Honda engine blew up anyways so he’s probably not loosing that much ;) /s

      1. @spoutnik LOL. And seeing that only twice in the past 20 years a team that’s not one of the big three Andretti, Ganassi, Penske, had actually won the Indy 500, one of which is a Honda customer and the other doesn’t exist anymore, I think the Samurai should admit defeat, pack his Katana and shelve his triple crown dream for another year ;)

        1. @montreal95 hahah indeed, though Penske still runs Chevy engines, so there’s still some light at the end of the tunnel I guess. But not for 2020 unfortunately ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. There’s hardly more stubborn people than Alonso so I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes 10 years but he will probably try until he wins it.

          1. @spoutnik Yeah that’s why I spoke about this year only. For next year, Penske may give him a car provided decent sponsorship could be found, as it serves his interests being the series owner as well. But for this year, he got snookered by the GP2 engine guys 🤪

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