Capito drops Latifi contract renewal hint at Williams F1

Williams Formula 1 team boss Jost Capito has dropped a firm hint that Nicholas Latifi will stay with the squad in 2022.

Capito drops Latifi contract renewal hint at Williams F1

Amid growing suggestions that George Russell will make the switch to Mercedes next season, Williams may well prefer to keep hold of its other driver to ensure some continuity.

Asked ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix if everything was pointing towards a contract extension for Latifi, Capito said: “Yeah, looks like, I would say.”

Latifi himself has made no secret of the fact that he would like to stick with Williams for a third season in 2022, having scored his first F1 points at the Hungarian Grand Prix when he finished seventh.

PLUS: Why unseen Hungary heroics could be the making of F1's most overlooked driver

He said on Thursday that he felt he was now experienced enough to assume the lead driver role if Russell's switch to Mercedes is confirmed.

Asked if he felt the Hungary result would help his cause, Latifi said: “I definitely think the result of Budapest won't hurt my case, how much it adds to it, I guess it's not really for me to decide.

“The team knows from behind the scenes what I'm capable of delivering. Budapest was a unique situation, but I did show I was able to capitalise when the opportunity came, which is very important in Formula 1 sometimes in breakthrough performances.”

Nicholas Latifi, Williams, in the Press Conference

Nicholas Latifi, Williams, in the Press Conference

Photo by: FIA Pool

Capito reckoned that by the end of this year the team would have faith in Latifi being strong enough to lead the squad if necessary.

“Maybe not now yet, but he is improving really race by race, and I'm sure when by the end of the season he is ready to do that,” he explained.

“Especially his personality is in the right spot to lead the team. He works very well with the engineers, he is very motivational. He is very clear in his direction, where he wants a car to develop and he is very much liked by the team, and he is demanding.

“So I think also he learned a lot with George, as they work together they spend a lot of time together on and off the track. So it's a fantastic relationship, and I'm sure by end of the season Niki will be in that position that he can lead the team.”

If Russell does leave for Mercedes, then Williams has a number of options.

It could promote development driver Jack Aitken, currently recovering after his crash in the Spa 24 Hours, or hand an F1 return to experienced drivers like Nico Hulkenberg or Daniil Kvyat. Valtteri Bottas is also another option.

shares
comments

Related video

Driving the F1 icon that launched Schumacher's career

Previous article

Driving the F1 icon that launched Schumacher's career

Next article

F1’s new pitstop rule: What is it and why is it being introduced?

F1’s new pitstop rule: What is it and why is it being introduced?
Load comments
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looked back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021