Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022

Latifi insists he’ll “be driving for the rest of the year” amid Piastri speculation

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In the round-up: Nicholas Latifi is sue he will finish the 2022 Formula 1 season as speculation mounts over his future.

In brief

Latifi: “I’m going to be driving for the rest of the year”

Despite a difficult start to his third season at Williams, Latifi has insisted that he see out the year at the team. “I know I’m going to be driving for the rest of the year,” he said when asked about his future after Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. “I don’t really have any comment to say about that,” he added.

Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri has been linked to the drive. Some have claimed Latifi will make his final F1 start in his home race this weekend before making way for the reigning Formula 2 champion.

Latifi admitted his place at the team in 2023 is uncertain. “I definitely feel I’m under pressure,” he said. “I think it would be the same for for any driver who doesn’t have a contract for for the following year.

“I think that pressure is always there, regardless of whether I was having great performances or where I am now, which is obviously not where I want to be.”

“I obviously know I need to improve,” Latifi admitted. “I want to improve. I’m not happy with the way things are right now, so I just happy to try and keep making steps to improve it.”

Midfield teams’ development at crucial point to define order

Pierre Gasly says that the incredibly tight midfield means teams’ next rounds of upgrades will be crucial to defining the ultimate order.

“I’m pretty sure on every race weekend you can already anticipate which team are going to be fast, which team are going to struggle more,” Gasly remarked after scoring his best result of the season so far in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. “But we’re also going to have, not now, but some upgrades coming, other teams are going to bring some upgrades and this will evolve.

“Because at the moment, we saw it in quali, our midfield is a battle obviously between the top four, then there is a universe between fourth place and fifth place, but then from five to six teams, all pretty much within three-tenths. So I think that the development over the next few weeks, will be crucial.”

Drugovich might be “a little bit more cautious” towards end of season

Formula 2 championship leader Felipe Drugovich extended his lead over Théo Pourchaire to 49 points last weekend, but admitted said “it’s still really early to say” whether the title is a realistic possibility.

“There’s many more points available than what I have in the gap to P2. Théo has done a good job and there’s also a lot of guys coming fast behind so we just need to wait and see. I’ll do my best.”

He is prepared to be more cautious at certain rounds to ensure he continues amassing championship points.

“We try to do our best as always, but at the same time I think the only thing I might change, towards the end, is being a little bit more cautious,” Drugovich said. “Especially in tracks like [Baku] where we have chaotic races.

“Apart from that, we just need to try to be fast and that’s it. Once you have a good qualifying everything gets easier.”

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Comment of the day

As teams argue about what would be a fair way to address the aggressive bouncing seen in Baku, DB-C90 points out that if there was a simple solution, it would likely have been found and engineered around. So is what teams need just more data from running time?

I find it interesting that most are just saying “raise the ride height” as a solution to the porpoising.

I suggest that if it was that simple, teams, including Mercedes, would have done it, even if it was just in P1, so they could measure just how much impact that would have.

The fact is, we armchair experts don’t have floor details, nor de we really know what true impact raising the ride height will have.

It’s conceivable that it might not solve it but instead make it worse (more travel)
It’s conceivable that it could in fact cause lift instead of downforce
It’s conceivable that we could see the return of cars flying off the track at speed because of a sudden loss of downforce.

These teams are supposed to have some of the best and brightest engineers and yet some seem to have gotten things very very wrong. That to me suggests that all the modelling and all the wind tunnels in the world can’t emulate “real life” on a track and the thing that is missing is more track time for the problem to be properly analysed.

To me the one thing that could be done, relatively simply, is to return the first two practice sessions to 90 minutes instead of the 60 minute sessions we have.

That gives everyone, including RBR and Ferrari the opportunity to tune out any “issues” on track instead of what currently seems to be a bit of a guessing game or at the very least an extended time due to the current lack of track time they’re getting.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to David A, Mateuss, Vikas and Eoin Harrington!

On this day in motorsport

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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15 comments on “Latifi insists he’ll “be driving for the rest of the year” amid Piastri speculation”

  1. Agreed with the COTD. I don’t see a downside for a return of 90 min sessions. I only understand why they went to 60 minute sessions for the most part..

    But for these new cars, we have limited budget, limited track time, limited tires, limited engines.. etc etc. Everything has been pressed and pushed to the limited so much that it seems like that even with the limited budget, and limited wind tunnel time – the top teams will always be top. Because once they’re there, catching up is aggressively restricted. (The limited addition of the pinnacle of motorsport! lol)

    Food for thought:
    Just because they’re the best and brightest engineers of this field. Doesn’t mean they can solve the equation with half the information.

    Of course, this is all from the perspective of spectator.

    1. “Just because they’re the best and brightest engineers of this field. Doesn’t mean they can solve the equation with half the information.”

      @heidenh I totally agree.

      If we as whole, want to see better racing in newly designed chassis’s then the teams should be allowed some extra time to iron out the kinks and not try to do it with one hand tied behind their backs.
      All that has already been done to limit testing with a new untested chassis is extending the delay for teams getting up to speed and properly racing each other. I think we’ve yet to see which team is truly better than the other this season; this reflects all the way down the grid.

      Yes, all the restrictions are too keep costs down and prevent larger teams from taking advantage of testing out all their shiny new parts when small teams don’t have the same budget to do that. But like you said, so much has already been done to lower expenses in almost every possible way that I think allowing engineers some more time to solve the new equation is a worth while exception and improve the whole show (I meant racing). This would only apply for the short term and not to be taken advantage after the initial season of a new aero package and a majority of teams (especially smaller budget teams) would need to say yes to it.

      There will always be that one team that will vote no to it and squash the idea because they got it right on the first go but does that make the racing better and ability to improve/refine new technology? From what I’m seeing this season, not so much.

    2. I think the COTD rather underestimates the teams. They don’t need to run such a solution in a free practice since they have simulators to tell them that raising the ride heights leads to a time loss of such an extend they’ll be out of contention for the rest of weekend.

      The question isn’t that it’s not simple to fix. The question is whether you want to fix it or not. The teams right now don’t want to fix it for their drivers because the time loss means they’ll be too slow and they prefer to not be. If the solution of raising the ride height means “cars will be flying off the track at high speed” than the cars are driving at too high a speed.

      Again, it’s a choice they’re making for performance. That’s their choice to make. It’s their car they build, and it might not be easy to fix while keeping the same performance they are seeing with their current, but that doesn’t mean it’s not easy to fix by running slower. They just don’t want to. Understandable, but not the rulebook’s problem.

  2. Or they could just raise the ride heights. Same problem as the early 80’s. Neither the drivers or teams are going to lose performance over a comfort issue.

  3. The CotD makes the assumption that Mercedes want to fix the bouncing, but are unable to. They have lobbied since day 1 of testing for active suspension to be brought in as a solution, brought it up in the press multiple times. Why would they then want to solve it themselves?

    If the reason Mercedes aren’t raising the ride height is because we might have flying cars or would make things more dangerous, Mercedes would say that because it would benefit their argument.

    These teams are supposed to have some of the best and brightest engineers and yet some seem to have gotten things very very wrong. That to me suggests that all the modelling and all the wind tunnels in the world can’t emulate “real life” on a track and the thing that is missing is more track time for the problem to be properly analysed.

    More hours on the track is going backwards, better modelling is the solution. It’s not an unsolvable problem as there are teams (with lesser budgets) that have solved it. The times for teams lobbying for changes to the regulations just because they get it wrong should be well and truly over. Hope the FIA stands their ground on this one as this sort of manipulation just sets a bad precedent with new entrants coming in soon.

    If Mercedes have to simply not race because they can’t make a car that’s safe for their drivers, that should be on them.

  4. Any thoughts on the declining crypto market and the effect it might have on F1?

    In particular this caught my eye:

    The market is likely to decline another 40% or so from where we are now which could make things for even tighter…any possible jeopardy for their sponsorship of F1?

    1. Formula 1 has always relied on dodgy economic bubbles to finance its sport. Crypto has come and will go just like the internet companies did, just like the bankers did, just like many such sponsors have come and gone, as long as they left some money in Formula 1 as they came and went, it’s fine.

      Yeah, in the short term it’ll be a loss of money, but there’s always new marketing opportunities around the corner. With the sports popularity increasing, I’m sure it won’t be much of an issue.

    2. Indeed. The crypto boom is over. Not the inflation hedge as advertised.

      The good news for the teams will be the replacement of Sprint Qualy Races with thrilling, nail-biting de-bounce testing sessions – featuring Live AWS Bouncy Graphics with tracking frequency and amplitude. ;-)

    3. The market is likely to decline another 40% or so

      The people saying this will probably be very rich ;)

      I’m not saying it won’t decline, but I can’t claim to know it won’t grow again.
      All we know that currently the value is correct (as in: demand equals supply volumes and values).

  5. Absolutely thrilled by the prospect of Piastri replacing Latifi, the kid just needs to be handed a seat, #piastri2023 definitely yes!

  6. The porpoising/bottoming out debate is getting boring much more quickly than I thought it would. The extremely obvious solution staring everybody in the face is the correct one.

    Asking, “Well, if it was that obvious, wouldn’t those clever F1 engineers have done it already?” is a) a pretty pathetic appeal to authority and b) clearly contradicted by the fact that the equally clever F1 engineers from other teams (e.g. McLaren) actually have done it already.

    It’s also nonsense to point to dire consequences that you’ve made up in your own head and use that as an argument against the obvious solution. “Ah, but if we raise the ride height the cars will bounce even more/they’ll start flying off the track/the sky will fall in/Toto Wolf’s trousers will fall down mid-interview.” Nobody is buying it. Just raise the ride height and sacrifice some performance, as others have done, or shut up and tell your troll factory to do the same.

  7. Latifi certainly will see out the season as per contract, so the quite probable ousting for Piastri would only happen for next season.

    I had wholly forgotten Naomi used to race in the W Series.
    Therefore, she indeed is qualified for her Sky role even if a racing experience itself is unnecessary for such purposes.

    Re the Insta post: I’m surprised both went to Red Bull Ring for (probably) some demo run purpose within such a short race gap considering how far away from Europe the next location is, but ‘Liked by Pierre Gasly’ stroke yet again. Surprising how this meme suddenly began in recent times.

    A valid COTD with which I agree in principle.

  8. I hope not Latifi, I hope not. I understand your subjective views and needs, but you’re far from this level. Last year he improved a little bit compared to 2020., but these cars are more difficult to drive and it’s ridiculous how many mistakes he makes EVERY single race and almost every single session even. Slow, but out of control. Money shouldn’t cover for that, not with such a strong competition for every seat. Buy your own championship and race with Mazepin and the rest of the gang, we shouldn’t take what we don’t deserve just because we can.

  9. FFS Nicholas you haven’t got it. Try something else.

  10. Williams already cashed the check.

Comments are closed.