Why Nicholas Latifi deserves to stay in F1
Written by Abhishek Banerjee, Edited by Harshi Vashee
Nicholas Latifi has been retained by Williams for the 2022 season. He will be partnered by Alex Albon who will be re-joining Formula One after a season racing in the DTM series. Nicholas Latifi has been branded a “pay-driver” and was not deemed good enough to compete in the top tier of motorsport.
In his first season, he finished 21st in the World Driver’s Championship with Williams. But at the time the Williams was comfortably the worst car on the grid even below the Haas. He made the jump from F2 to F1 after 5 seasons. He finished 2nd in his last ever season in Formula 2. He has not had a particularly stellar career prior to his step up to F1.
He was also whitewashed by George Russel in qualifying. He finished P11 twice, once in the Tuscan Grand Prix and the other time when he finished only one second behind Antonio Giovanazzi in the Italian Grand Prix. He made it into Q2 in the Hungarian Grand Prix starting on Sunday in P15.
In the 2021 season, he has made significant improvement and has been much closer to George Russel on Sundays even though his gap to George in qualifying has remained significant. George has pushed the car to its limits and has qualified as high as P2 in Spa.
He has been pushing the 2nd worst car into positions it could never be in. Nicholas Latifi has made it into Q2 on a couple of occasions but George has been on the outskirts of Q3 consistently and even breaking into Q3. George finished on the podium in the rain soaked Spa feature race but Nicholas earned more points (P7) and finished above George in the chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix.
It’s no secret that Nicholas Latifi paid his way into F1 and spent 5 years in the Formula F2 series which is considerably longer than most drivers would spend in the Junior Formula series. But saying that, Dorilton Capital have stated they would not need financial help from drivers in the future but opted to retain Latifi next year. Nicholas Latifi clearly deserves another season after his performances so far. Stability in the team must have been a huge factor in retaining Latifi. He has improved this season and it will be an interesting battle between Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi next season.