Latifi suspects difference between chassis explains part of deficit to Albon

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Nicholas Latifi isn’t convinced his chassis is capable of performing in the same way as that of his team mate Alexander Albon.

In his third season of F1, Latifi has been consistently out-paced by Albon, who arrived at Williams this year. After finishing 16th in his home race last weekend Latifi admitted “there wasn’t really anything enjoyable about it.”

“We’ve been lacking so much pace right from the off,” he explained. “Low fuel, high fuel, when tyres are good, when we’re managing tyre degradation. I mean, we’re just way too far off.”

He hopes to use the gap before the next round at Silverstone to understand his deficit to his team mate.

“We have to use this two-week break and try to understand, see if we can find anything,” said Latifi.

“For me it has to be something quite fundamental because there’s no situation or condition on-track, not even when people aren’t pushing flat-out and I feel I am, that the pace is competitive. So we’ll see, try and reset going into Silverstone and go from there.”

George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
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Latifi admitted he lacked confidence in the team’s 2022 car earlier in the year. However he is convinced his problems go beyond that.

“I feel it’s far beyond the driving style issue,” he said. “For sure, at the beginning of the season, there was a part of that, you can maybe still attribute some of the lap time delta to that.

“But for me, looking far beyond that, looking far past any of the confidence limitation that I feel I was having at the beginning, the pace will just not be there. There’s situations where I just don’t feel my car is capable of doing what I see he’s doing on the data, which is not a nice feeling to be in.

“It’s a bit puzzling. So again, we’ll use this two-week break to see what we can analyse.”

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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...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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50 comments on “Latifi suspects difference between chassis explains part of deficit to Albon”

  1. Ah, the puzzle of “differences in cars” always crops up in these instances. More often than not, it is not proven to be a substantial difference though.

    1. @bascb I hate hearing drivers complain about such things but with this seasons new cars, he could have some merit. He’s not the only one struggling badly with the new cars (Schu, Gasly, Sainz, RIC); maybe just not as much as him but it’s still obvious. Last year Latifi was doing much better as a whole, it was one of his better seasons and then this year he has dramatically been worse so yeah I can see the car effecting his performance.
      Whether he has a different chassis or not, who really knows how much but if it is different then that would probably matter. Drivers swapping cars would quickly settle that angle of whinging.

      He’s got the money and I don’t think they’ll cap out on budget so he could just buy another better chassis that could suit him better? This is most likely his very last year ever driving in F1, time for him to make the most out of it.

      1. Hm, not sure you really argue the point Latifi is making there @redpill, but yes, the cars ARE quite different and we HAVE seen quite a few drivers having trouble/taking time to adapt to how they need to be driven. It is quite likely that Latifi is one of them.

        But that only dilutes the argument for a chassis difference being the reason for it.

        Off course we don’t know whether each of the Williams drivers has driven only one chassis so far this year, but teams often switch chassis between drivers over time, rotating them around at different races.

        1. @bascb I’m not arguing with Latifi even though it may sound that way. Latifi in the past has always seemed very level headed and honest so no reason to doubt what he’s saying (unlike Mazespin).
          Maybe I’m just in disbelief that Williams isn’t making both chassis the best and equal, unless they’re testing different design options between the two. Latifi is in a very tough spot, as he’s not the best driver f1 and the design does not seem to suit him like some other drivers. He’ll need to overcome these issues and try to move forward and earn some good races. Sadly, I do think it’s time for another driver to be given a chance at Williams.
          Williams does have a lot to thank him about and his family.

          1. Since they are hand made, there ususally are some differences between individual chassis’ – the first one often tends to be somewhat heavier. And repairs most likely add weight to them over time, adding to the slight differences between them.

            In the past teams have had at least 3 but more often a total of 4 chassis in use that they changed around between both drivers, shipping them back to the plant for repairs etc.

    2. However, it sometimes is. Russell is way better than Albon and Latiffi was much more competent with him. However, I still think it’s more probable that NL has simply not adapted to the new car as well.

      1. Russell is way better than Albon

        Is he? How do you know?

        1. Eyes in my head, common sense and…results. I say this as someone who finds Russell insufferably smug. So, not a fan of him. Can you, with a straight face, say Russell would have had only two third paces in 1.5 seasons in that RBR car?

          You think Albon would be around points ahead of Hamilton like Russell is? Come on.

          1. With a completely dead straight face, Nick, I can honestly say that nobody knows.
            We can ponder, guess, postulate and even assume, but nobody will ever actually know.
            I’m not even going to guess, because it’s completely pointless.

            I will say, though, that there are so many stars that need to line up in F1 for a driver to be a hero rather than a zero. It’s not all about ‘talent’ and certainly isn’t just about results either.
            I’ve seen more than enough highly lauded, talented and successful drivers come to F1 and simply not gel with their cars, and end up leaving shortly after without the expected results that their previous experience in other categories suggested. I’ve also seen the opposite, where relatively unsuccessful and under-rated drivers have done very well indeed. Pay drivers included.

            I agree about Russell’s smugness, though.

        2. @S
          2018 F2 Results:
          1. George Russell – 287
          2. Lando Norris – 219
          3. Alex Albon – 202
          9. Nicolas Latifi – 91

    3. BTW, he never explicitly states what the headline says be does.

    4. Difference between Latifi and Albon will be piastri

      Reply moderated
  2. It’s not a good sign for Latifi’s future that he is now working his way to the chassis difference excuse. Almost never is there is a significant difference in the chassis that the team isn’t already aware of and will account for when determining who to retain and who to let go. Of course, once the team proves there is no difference in chassis either by swapping or providing a new one, the excuse becomes the team is sabotaging one side of the garage so they aren’t as competitive. Which is equally as implausible, especially for a team like Williams who need every opportunity to score even a single point as possible.

    As much as any of the other rumors, this solidifies Piastri joining Williams in Latifi’s seat.

    1. “the excuse becomes the team is sabotaging one side of the garage so they aren’t as competitive. Which is equally as implausible” I don’t think the proper word is “sabotage” but in a recent case, Ericsson had a big preference in the team management when Sauber was sold to his backers. Felipe Nasr performance drop in performance was obvious. There’s relates of one of his mechanics saying some things wasn’t “fair” in there.

    2. It’s usually less sabotage and more the team putting its focus on perfecting one side of the garage because they have more faith in that driver. At teams with limited resources, this actually can have an effect. Either way, it’s clear that neither of these drivers, IMO, are outstanding talents, but Albon has shown enough to deserve a second assessment versus Piastri. So, I’ll be happy to see him in the team alongside Albon. Hopefully, it can happen this year as the NL story has seem to run its course already.

  3. Ahhhh.
    I was wondering what the problem has been all this time.
    Thank goodness it is something that can be rectified so that Nicholas can start showing us his true form.

  4. He needs to do everyone a favour and bow out asap. He’s had a very good go of it and proved he just doesn’t have it. He’s only taking up a opportunity that could be the taken by someone with a future in F1.

  5. Laughable defense, but the thing is that not only his teammate is in front of him (every single race/qualy/driving to work/whatever), but they are separated by other cars too. Williams’ car is probably not the slowest on the grid, but this guy makes it look so. Too bad they didn’t hire Mazepin, then one of those two would have to be better than his teammate (first time ever), despite them both having the slower car of the two….

    Reply moderated
  6. What a waste of a F1 seat, that man.

    1. Can’t expect much more from the Billionaire backrow club. At least Mazepin got pushed out of the sport.. and its just a matter of time before Latifi gets pushed out for a more deserving talent. Hopefully, Papa Stroll realises he’s as awful at managing an F1 team, as his son is at driving an F1 car.

      I think the sport could really do away with these 3 drivers

  7. Electroball76
    20th June 2022, 18:55

    Talent explains the rest?

  8. I thought he had turned a corner last year, but he’s consistently the slowest guy on the grid this year.. I would love him to prove us all wrong, that it was just a chassis defect.. But I highly doubt it.

  9. I guess Albon comes with the chassis.

  10. I’m not an F1 driver but I’ll stick my neck out, its not the chassis!

  11. Let them swap chassis for a few races. I’m certain Albon would still be ahead.

  12. The last guy who complained about the different chassis didn’t drive much longer in F1, an he was a pay driver too.

    1. He’s no longer in F1. but talent (or lack thereof) had little to do with that.

      Who knows, maybe Canada will start a war by invading one of its neighbors and he’ll be kicked out of F1 as well.

      1. Electroball76
        20th June 2022, 23:50

        invade Greenland? Kevin Magnusson would not be happy

  13. Chris Horton
    20th June 2022, 19:53

    Well it wouldn’t be the first time a chassis has been found to have a crack somewhere which the team took several races to find. I suspect Albon is just better (which there is no shame in) but he did have a strong portion of 2021 against Russell at least.

    I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and explore the possibility.

    Reply moderated
  14. Ah the old “chassis is different” explanation. Latifi must have gone to the Nikita Mazepin school of excuses. It’s only for billionaires, mind…

  15. Hehe, some nice light humour to cheer us up on a Monday :)

  16. Maybe he will be dropped for Silverstone….

  17. Hey, whatever happened to the last billionaire’s son that was whining about chassis differences?

  18. Let’s try putting someone else in it to see if they encounter the same issues. Assuming Alonso doesn’t step down and offer him his race seat, Oscar Piastri would be free to drive in Silverstone free practice, and maybe 13 or 14 further Grands Prix to make it a fair comparison.

  19. This one dates back millennia when chariots were first raced, yet its still trotted out every season. At least he has a lucrative trade he can practice in the next 25 years in sports cars.

  20. Where does he actually say his chassis is inferior?

    1. James (@laughingorc)
      21st June 2022, 0:00

      There’s situations where I just don’t feel my car is capable of doing what I see he’s doing

      I guess this is the comment the headline refers to, but it’s certainly not explicitly stated. Also I note that there’s no source for these comments? Who was Latifi talking to, and when? Bit sloppy, not citing any sources RF.

      1. Which is fairly typical for RF.

      2. Where does he actually say his chassis is inferior?

        “Inferior” is your choice of word, it does not appear anywhere in the article.

        The word we chose to describe his comments with is “difference”, which is justified by his quote:

        “I just don’t feel my car is capable of doing what I see he’s doing on the data.”

        @laughingorc

        Also I note that there’s no source for these comments? Who was Latifi talking to, and when? Bit sloppy, not citing any sources RF.

        He said this at the circuit after the race in a press session which RaceFans and other media attended. As is also case for other quotes from drivers we reported over the weekend, e.g. Russell talking about Mercedes’ gap to the front runners.

        Sincere question (because I don’t want people being confused about this): Why did you assume he didn’t say it to us?

        1. Hey Keith, appreciate the response. I didn’t assume he didn’t say these comments to you as such – there’s just no indication of when he said this at all. Most news outlets would just include a quick byline. Including something like “speaking to RaceFans after the race, Latifi said…” would eliminate the need for any guesswork from annoying folks like me in the comments – might also make it easier for other media to know who to credit if they quote you.

          Maybe I’m just being pedantic, but certainly when I worked in journalism it was drummed into me that you always cite your source, even if – especially if – it’s a first-hand account.

  21. James (@laughingorc)
    21st June 2022, 0:04

    Oh Nicholas. He’s a nice enough guy and I wish him all the best, but it really seems like he’s just not cut out for F1. He had a few strong races against George last year for sure, but I don’t think he’s ever turned in a performance that would sit up and make anyone take note. He’s never demonstrated that the car is hampering his performance in the way that Russel so frequently did, or even as much as Albon has in the short time he’s been racing for Williams.

  22. Latifi hanging around is like still sniffing around an orgy when everyone has told you, you are rubbish at sex.

    1. You still feeling bitter about it?

    2. I’m sorry that happened to you.

  23. were his chassis worse when Russell eas beating him too?

    Albon is a talent, as is Russell. He isn’t. There lies the difference.

  24. Chris Horton
    21st June 2022, 3:11

    I really feel the Latifi-hate rose exponentially after Abu Dhabi 2021.

    Funny that.

    Reply moderated
  25. A lot of comments here showing the usual distaste F1 ‘fans’ so often have for drivers at the back of the grid – especially those who enter with private financial backing, as if that weren’t common among F1 drivers – but every professional racer knows exactly what Latifi is referring to.
    No two chassis’ are ever identical. Drivers become so intimately at one with their cars that they can certainly tell which is which by feel without having to look at the chassis number.
    It’s a common ‘excuse’ because it’s completely real.

    That almost certainly doesn’t account for the entire performance difference between the team’s two drivers as chassis rotation occurs throughout the season anyway, but it still may well be a factor.

    Coincidentally, I recall Hamilton making the same claims during the 2016 season….

  26. Just face it, Latifi. You suck and ain’t worth taking a F1 seat. There are plenty of better drivers available who deserved a F1 seat. It’s over. Next year you’ll be replaced 👍🏻

  27. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    21st June 2022, 12:06

    I just think this is his pace. This is how good he is. Given a quicker car he’d be further up the grid comfortably but still quite a way off his team-mate, apart from the rare off day that he beat them. He looked consistently unable to extract what Russell did from the Williams, and now looks unable to do it against Albon. This is just where he is, there’s no shame in that.

    1. I don’t think his ego can handle that fact though.. hence chassis excuses etc. He knew he was outclassed by Russell… so he didn’t cry much about it, but getting beaten so convincingly by a newbie Albon from the first race onwards, must have shattered him completely.

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