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Latifi: IndyCar contract talk “funny”, denies rumours of switch

Nicholas Latifi has played down speculation that he’s set for an IndyCar switch after his departure from the Williams Formula 1 team, insisting he’s undecided on which series to join.

Nicholas Latifi, Williams Racing, speaks to the media

The 2019 Formula 2 championship runner-up was told by Williams in September that he would not be retained after three seasons of racing with the team.

The 27-year-old Canadian has since been linked to various IndyCar drives, including to the seat left vacant at Chip Ganassi Racing by the retirement of Jimmie Johnson from full-time racing.

But ahead of the US Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, Latifi said that he had yet to decide which series he'll race in next year, let alone for which team.

“Honestly, I’m still not committed to anything,” he said. 

“I haven’t signed anything, I’m still not any further along in having concrete news to share.

“I saw the news over the past days that I’ve already signed a contract to race in IndyCar, which I found a little bit funny.

“But I’ve spoken to a few different teams in different categories and I’ve still not said to myself, ‘OK, it’s this or nothing’-type thing. So there’s still a lot of things that are up in the air.

“In a way it’s a bit… annoying is not the word, but obviously most of my focus is still on finishing off the rest of the year on as high note as possible and end this chapter with Williams on the positive side.

“Obviously a lot of other series have been finished now for quite a while and things move fast in motorsport and it’s a time when everyone wants to get their drivers and situations sorted as soon as possible.

“It still was not really been that long ago that I officially found out [I was being released]… It was just before Singapore.

“So yeah, there’s still some discussions ongoing but nothing ready to announce.”

Nicholas Latifi, Williams Racing FW44

Nicholas Latifi, Williams Racing FW44

Photo by: Williams

Latifi said he had no preference regarding which series he'll race in, adding: “I’m looking at not just formula cars but also endurance racing. I’m not, ‘100 percent I want to do this championship or this championship.’

“It’s just kind of hearing and trying to understand what’s the situation for teams and championships, what that might look like for me and my life as well for the future.

“I need to make a decision for myself and then narrow in on that.”

However, he did concede that after racing “difficult” Williams cars for three years, the fact that IndyCar runs spec Dallara chassis is one of US open-wheel racing’s major attractions.

“Yes, it’s definitely one of the appeals of the series,” he agreed.

“Obviously, spec racing, everyone has more of an equal opportunity. It’s something that no doubt I’ve been missing the past few years.

“Every now and then we’re in a position where we’re slightly more competitive for a race and we might have a few on-track battles, but obviously we’re not doing that in every race – more often than not, that’s not the case.

“So that for sure is what I’ve been missing, and yeah, I’d definitely be looking forward to that if I was to join a series where it is more equal.”

Race Start, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Race Start, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Asked if he was being pulled into discussions over his future somewhat earlier than he wanted, and if he’d prefer to wait until after the F1 season finale at Abu Dhabi, Latifi replied: “If it was up to me, then yeah, but obviously realistically that’s not the way it can go.

“Even in Formula 1, most teams don’t wait until the last race.

“That’s the way motorsport is, and you can understand the need for teams and drivers to have their futures sorted sooner rather than later; it’s always better to be in that position.”

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