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 Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022