Former Formula 1 driver Nicholas Latifi has announced his retirement from racing at the age of 28.Williams from 2020 to 2022, revealed he is studying for an “MBA” – commonly a ‘Master of Business Administration’ degree.
Over three seasons in F1 Latifi scored points three times and peaked with seventh place in the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix. His highest qualifying position was 10th, achieved three times.
Latifi said he dismissed thoughts of racing elsewhere this year after losing his seat to Logan Sargeant and decided to change careers instead.
“I decided very early on in the year that I wouldn’t have any racing plans for 2023,” Latifi explained on social media. “It definitely felt very strange not having the same routine I’d been in for over half my life. Knowing that I wouldn’t be behind the wheel of a race car this year, I had obviously begun to think of what could be next for me, whether that involved racing or something completely different.
“I decided that for the immediate future, I wanted to take some time and pursue a different avenue and focus on another path.
“Growing up, I always had a keen interest in the world of business, and I always said it was something I would’ve studied at university had I not gone the racing route. With that in mind, and knowing I might be taking a break from racing, I decided that I want to pursue an MBA degree and focus on something that would transform the next phase of my life.”
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Latifi said he had long considered taking his career in a different direction. His father Michael is a successful businessman who bought a stake in McLaren five years ago.
“An MBA was always something that I had contemplated doing post-racing life, even if that had been into my late 30s and early 40s,” said Latifi.
“Making the decision early on in the year that an MBA was what I wanted to pursue, I began devoting my time to researching business schools and seeing which ones would be a good fit, preparing an application for them, and studying for the GMAT (a test required by most business schools to go along with your application). This was not an easy process and took many months. Anyone who has experienced the journey of applying to a business school knows how difficult it can be.
“After a five-month journey from starting the process, I am pleased to say that my candidacy was accepted for a place in the MBA program at London Business School (LBS), which I will be starting in August of this year.”
He acknowledged his decision “may seem surprising to a lot of people”, having spent his youth working up the junior formulae to gain a place in F1. “Transitioning to a different racing category might have seemed the most obvious move,” said Latifi.
“However, I knew there would always be a life post-racing at some point, and I decided that now might be a good time to prepare myself for that. This is not necessarily a goodbye to the racing world forever. Racing has been my life since the age of 13 and is still something I am extremely passionate about. I haven’t missed watching an F1 race yet this season. However, I felt like this year was the right time to explore and pursue other avenues in my life.
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“I’m very much looking forward to this next adventure and want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career thus far. I hope I can continue to have your support as I take some time to pursue a different path.”
At the start of his car racing career, Latifi won in the Italian Formula 3 championship and then stepped down to Formula Abarth to race in the Florida Winter Series. He won four times against two of his future F1 rivals, but once he returned to F3 he struggled to impress and it took over three years before he became a victor again, doing so in Formula 2.
Latifi spent five years in F1’s primary feeder series, culminating in a 2019 season in which he won three of the first five races and was runner-up to Nyck de Vries in the championship. Following that Latifi became a test driver for the Renault and Force India F1 teams. He joined Williams in 2019 and was promoted up to a race seat with them the year after.
In 2021 he revealed he had been targeted by abuse and received death threats on social media after he crashed out of the season finale at Yas Marina, prompting the Safety Car period which swung the outcome of that year’s world championship.
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