Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Monza, 2022

Williams confirm Latifi will not drive for team again in 2023

2023 F1 season

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Nicholas Latifi’s Formula 1 career appears to be over as Williams has confirmed they will not retain the driver for the 2023 F1 season.

The 27-year-old made his F1 debut with the team in 2020, alongside George Russell. Neither driver scored in a difficult year for the team, but Latifi helped end their point-less drought the following year in Hungary, leading his team mate home as they took seventh and eighth places.

That proved the highlight of an otherwise largely unsuccessful introduction to F1 for Latifi. He managed only one other points score, in the shortened, one-lap Belgian Grand Prix.

Latifi attained notoriety after he crashed out of last year’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, triggering a Safety Car period which led to the contentious conclusion to the championship. He later revealed he suffered abuse on social media, including death threats, in the weeks which followed.

After 16 of 22 races this year, Latifi remains the only full-time driver yet to score a point. His plight deepened in the last race at Monza where he was out-qualified by substitute driver Nyck de Vries, who went on to equal the team’s best finish of the season with ninth place.

Williams previously announced Latifi’s current team mate, Alexander Albon, will remain part of its line-up next year. It has now confirmed Latifi will not be his team mate.

Analysis: Who will be left without an F1 drive when the final places are taken for 2023?
“I would like to say an enormous thank you to Nicholas for his three years of hard work with Williams,” said team principal and CEO Jost Capito. “He is a great team player who has a great attitude towards his colleagues and work and is well-liked and respected throughout the business.

“Our time together is now coming to an end, but I know he will put full effort in to maximise what we can do together for the remainder of this season. We wish him all the very best of luck for his future, both in and out of the cockpit.”

Latifi first drove for Williams in practice during the 2019 season, having also drive for Force India the year before. He thanked the team for their support over his three years racing for them.

“My initial F1 debut was postponed due to the pandemic but we eventually got going in Austria and, although we have not achieved the results together we hoped we would, it’s still been a fantastic journey,” he said.

“Getting those first points in Hungary last year was a moment I’ll never forget, and I will move onto the next chapter of my career with special memories of my time with this dedicated team. I know none of us will stop putting in every effort until the end of the season.”

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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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43 comments on “Williams confirm Latifi will not drive for team again in 2023”

  1. As expected for a while, so entirely unsurprising.

  2. Well he wasn’t the fastest guy who drove Williams.

  3. Thanks for the cash Nicholas, but Nyck is the one we want (provided Alpine and Alpha Tauri don’t get to him first).

    1. (provided Alpine and Alpha Tauri don’t get to him first)

      Exactly! I bet Alpha Tauri will get him.

      1. If Gasly goes to Alpine then yes otherwise Williams has a good chance.

  4. Last year Latifi wasn’t as bad as many expected him to be.. but this season he’s been the worst driver on the grid by a few dozen country miles.

    1. @todfod Yeah – alongside Russell I didn’t think he was that bad. I totally understood why Williams took him on (to pay the bills). He was a few tenths off, but keeping the lights on for hundreds of staff. But this season he has been woeful.

      I guess we’re doing the ‘announce the departure and then the new guy a day or two later thing’.

      F1 has certainly seen worse drivers, even very recently. But if Williams are on a stable financial footing now, talent can presumably take precedent. *on a side note he seems like a nice guy, I wish him all the best.

      1. @bernasaurus

        I agree.. there have been worse pay drivers. And overall, Nick seemed like a likeable guy, at least when compared to the other recent billionaire kids we’ve had in F1. I think he’ll be moderately successful in other motorsport categories if he continues his career.

        I’m just glad his dad didn’t buy an F1 team, so he forcefully races in front of fans in an embarrassing fashion each weekend. Hopefully, Lance exits the sport soon as well, and then we’re left with drivers who actually deserve to be on the grid on merit more than money

        Reply moderated
    2. Last year, his second season, he actually didn’t do all that bad when you consider how well Russell is doing compared to Hamilton this year. Comparisons between years are always tough, especially with such different cars, but whatever his faults, Latifi is definitely not a lousy F1 driver.

      That said, this year has been pretty bad and his form doesn’t seem to be improving. Good and fair call by Williams to replace him. He’ll still be a good addition to many a race team a little lower on the ladder.

  5. De vries really put things into perspective

  6. Two down, one more to go.

    The so called “pay drivers”, I mean. That says a lot about the side effects of the budget cap.

    But either Williams does not have a driver signed yet (my bet), or Mr Capito is being a gentleman by not performing the “replacement” act.

    1. You beat me to it with the ‘x down, y to go’ phrase, but I don’t understand your x and y numbers.
      Out, as far as I know, are Vettel and Latifi, with the former having made his own (wise) decision.
      Yet to be dumped are Stroll, Schumacher, Ricciardo and, to a lesser degree, Tsunoda.
      (And the majority of the FIA and Liberty management, but that’s another matter.)

      So, give me ‘the facts’ and tell me who you had in mind?

      1. They were referring to “The so called “pay drivers” on the grid.

        1. And I asked who specific ‘they’ were referring to.

      2. I don’t understand the yet to be dumped in terms of ricciardo, he got fired by mclaren.

        1. Ah, ofcourse, you’re right there. Silly me.
          There still is a chance he finds a seat at another team though, although I’m not of the opinion he deserves it.

          1. Mazepin, Latifi and Stroll. Those are (were) the ones investing in their team. Ricciardo and Vettel were paid to drive, a very hefty sum by the way.

  7. He’s had a fair chance to prove himself and, while not totally hopeless, has rarely shown that he deserves to have one of the 20 seats in F1. I don’t think he can have any complaints.

    1. A fair assessment. I believe his biggest accomplishment might have been in his early Williams days, with his money keeping Williams afloat (just about). While competent, it’s been clear for a while that he’s not the fastest driver to get behind the wheel of an F1 car, and that didn’t matter if the car was always going to be 18/20th place, it does matter however if the car on a good day can be scrapping for points. The argument then shifts to, who can we put in the car to earn those points. Albon ticks that box, and De Vries showed that Latiffi was wasting the potential of the other car so he had to go. I don’t dislike the guy, in fact I think he’s one of the nicer guys on the grid, but F1 will not be worse off without him.

  8. I love it how RaceFans always finds a photo with a sad looking face when a driver’s announced to be on the way out. :OD

    1. Ahah, true, that’s a good point.

    2. And with those devil horns, too!

  9. Inevitable. de Vries showed more potential in one race than Latifi did over two years.

  10. Unsurprising given how poorly he performed against Russell and Albon, but arguably De Vries was the final nail in the coffin eliminating any doubt that Latifi wasn’t doing a good job. The Williams is still arguably the worst car on the grid but in Russells, then Albon’s and now De Vries’s hands its still capable of turning a decent result while in Latifi’s it’s rooted to the back of the grid. If the team wants to improve it desperately needs two strong drivers instead of racing with one car behind its back, so to speak.

  11. So long Nicholas, and thanks for all the memes.

  12. Unsurprising given how poorly he performed against Russell and Albon, but arguably De Vries was the final nail in the coffin eliminating any doubt that Latifi wasn’t doing a good job.

    The performance De Vries put in, without knowing what most of the buttons on the sterring wheel do, also leaves a question about Albon.
    Side by side comparison is needed, because what De Vries did, without knowing the car, seems similar to Albon who has driven it from early testing. On first glance that doesn’t paint a good picture of Albon.

    1. Monza was terrible timing (or great timing for DeVries), as it is probably the track that suits the car best all year. So we really don’t know what Albon could have done, but I would have expected him to be really strong. Taking nothing away from the amazing job that Nyck did. If williams get Nyck for next year it will be a really solid line up, something they haven’t had for many years. I’m personally really glad to see Latifi gone. It should have happened two years ago.

      1. @dot_com Albon and De Vries are from the same generation from karting onwards and have made a pretty similar impression during their junior series campaign. I think they are comparably talented, worthy as midfielder but not once in a generation talent. I’d put De Vries in the same tier as Albon, Gasly, Ocon.

        If De Vries and Albon are indeed quite evenly talented, than it is fair to say that Albon indeed would have been even stronger in Monza than De Vries, considering his experience advantage over De Vries.

        1. Comparable for sure. I think they would be a great line up and really push each other. Williams have not had two decent drivers for some time.

    2. The engineers can guide the driver over the radio on what adjustments to make on the steering wheel, the driver doesn’t necessarily need to know what they do, just where to put their hand. The driver needs to understand how to turn left, right, speed up, and slow down. The better they are at those four things, the better their results tend to be.

  13. Predictably, a bunch of people here doing the usual “It was his first go and he embarrassed his team mate, he must be awesome” routine.
    There have been quite a few drivers who’ve done similar on their first outing, only to have little consistency and poor results thereafter…

    Let’s see how he goes in his next few attempts – a sample of one is useless.
    Certainly nothing to judge either him or his team-mate by.

  14. I’ve been watching F1 for a while and whilst I get that some current drivers are labelled as having bought their seat, I honestly don’t feel any of them are as staggeringly, obviously bad as some of the names from history (Gaston Mazzacane springs to mind as does Chanoch Nissany as he was so bad he didn’t get to race in the event he paid to drive in) as some of these drivers were truly terrible. I don’t feel any of the current crop would fail to get within 107% of a pole time if the car has the pace to do so.

    The current field are, in my opinion (however flawed some might think ;-) ) genuinely better than many drivers that have paid to compete previously, they just look sub-standard because of the level that Alonso, Hamilton, Leclerc, Verstappen (alphabetic list, no favouritism) and the other top drivers are able to consistently attain.

    In searching how to spell Mazzacane, I came across this article on here and I feel some of the videos are an eye opener – https://www.racefans.net/groups/f1/forum/topic/top-10-worst-f1-drivers-of-the-21st-century/

    1. 100% agree. The stopwatch will always rank them but the current batch have been fairly close in qualy times. All of them are usually within 2s off the lead, after circling a track for 80+ seconds. That’s incredibly close.

      You get a ride from any of them, they’ll amaze you. Some more shiny than others but all of them are top shelf.

      Reply moderated
      1. Totally agreed on your last point and have to say your description is far more eloquent and lyrical than my engineering-type analysis!

        Shame that YouTube have removed most of the videos in the article I linked, but in playing Geoff Crammond’s GP on the Amiga I remember changing Mazzacane’s name to Maxchicane as on a race weekend I thought he was a rolling roadblock…

        Reply moderated
  15. Thats what Racefans looked like in 2010!?!? I agree Latifi isn’t the worst to step into an F1 cockpit at all – far from it. But if Williams want to move up the grid, he isn’t the guy to take them there, I think we all know that.

    1. Yup, agreed on all fronts there

  16. His fathers money kept Williams afloat for a while, so I take my hat off to that. It’s a shame after scoring points he didn’t improve and has since lost confidence.

    Honestly I wish him all the best for his future and any further career in Motorsport.

  17. When Dad buys you the ‘Ultimate Racing Experience’ package for three Birthdays in a row.

  18. Don’t think anyone can have any complaints or be in any way surprised.

    “Nice chap, but not really suited to F1” would be an appropriate way to remember him.

  19. What a relief this must be for Williams. Hopefully they will now get someone positive skilled and competent who will help with the long journey of turning their fortunes around.

    Now we need to have a serious discussion about all the rich kids buying seats in F1 and whether they are bringing down the driving standards (and excellence) of the sport.

  20. Don’t understand the “not that bad” comments. In every comparison he & Mazspin have been the worst during their tenures. You dont get points or keep a seat for being one of the nice guys on the grid.

    Reply moderated
    1. It’s always trickier to compare teammates in the worst teams, because the cars can sometimes be a limiting factor for both (small gaps) or the team can be relatively badly prepared compared to the top teams leading to greater variation (big gaps). Comparing qualifying and race pace is similarly not as easy as adding up all the numbers, as not everyone can always drive their own pace, especially further down the order.

      But with all that as caveats, Latifi was in many ways not that far behind Russell – especially in the races. Depending on how you factor in the wet sessions, he was closer to Russell than Pérez was to Verstappen. Even in 2022, Pérez has failed to be on the podium more often than not – in a Red Bull! Yet when Latifi has a bad day, he’s last. When Pérez has a bad day, he is 5th and people still claim he’s ‘exactly the #2 Red Bull needs’.

      Latifi was never going to be a champion, but if he had been in an even slightly better car, with an even slightly better team, he wouldn’t have looked out of place in the midfield. In 2021. This year, he’s been markedly worse, so it’s fair enough that Williams is ending their partnership.

  21. I have a feeling that Aston Martin would help out a fellow Canadian despite getting Felipe Drugovich in their driver academy.

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