‘Jost Capito must be man enough to say this is it for Nicholas Latifi’

Michelle Foster
Nicholas Latifi looking down. Montreal, June 2022.

Williams' Nicholas Latifi looks down whilst wearing a cap. Montreal, June 2022.

Former F1 driver Robert Doornbos has urged Jost Capito to be “man enough” to say Monza was it for Nicholas Latifi and drop him in favour of putting Nyck de Vries in the car next season.

Although the Italian Grand Prix marked De Vries’ Formula 1 debut, he did something Latifi has failed to do all season, he scored points.

The Dutch driver raced his way to ninth place, scoring two points as he filled in for Alex Albon after the driver came down with appendicitis, while Latifi, despite lining up two places behind his new team-mate on the grid, fell all the way to P15.

Pundits believe this should be the end of the line for the Canadian driver.

Latifi has been in Formula 1 for three years and yet was out-qualified and out-raced by De Vries, Doornbos saying it’s time for Williams team boss Capito to acknowledge the situation.

The former F1 driver believes he should “immediately” tell Latifi this season is his last and put the Mercedes-backed De Vries in the car in 2023.

“I think you have to look at Mercedes-powered teams and there aren’t many places left,” Motorsport.com quoted the Ziggo F1 analyst as having said: “Aston Martin, McLaren and Mercedes are full, only Williams has a spot left.

“Then Jost Capito must also be man enough to immediately say: ‘This was it for Latifi and you will be in that car next year with Albon’.”

He reckons Williams won’t rush the decision and suggested a deal between Williams and Mercedes for cheaper engines in exchange for putting De Vries in the car.

“A team like Williams always takes a long time with such a decision, for them it makes no sense to decide that now,” he said. “They are not in a hurry and prefer to play the cards.

“If the receipt for the engine is high, Mercedes can still say that they would like to have their own driver in that seat and that might save half.”

But, he added: “There may also be another driver who has sponsorship and gets in that car.

“That is also the Formula 1 world, there are only twenty seats and a lot of drivers who can and want to race. One has more talent than the other, but there is much more to it.

“Nyck doesn’t have to do anything anymore, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. He’s done a great job. Alpine or Williams should just offer a seat if they want it.”

Nyck de Vries in the paddock smiling with the Williams signage behind him. Spain May 2022

Nyck de Vries cannot count on Mercedes’ support

Nyck de Vries may have won the 2022 Formula E title with Mercedes, achieving that goal in their final season in the electric series, but he cannot count on Toto Wolff to support his Formula 1 bid.

The Austrian has made that clear several times.

I can’t really help him,” he said back in July. “We can’t really tell any team to look at him and consider him because that would be felt as an interference and that goes the contrary way.”

Two months later, while talking about De Vries and how much he deserves a spot on the grid, Wolff explained “we haven’t got a management contract with him, we haven’t got any influence on his career”.

And that’s just the two most recent comments from the Mercedes motorsport boss, it’s up to De Vries to secure a place on the grid.

He did everything right in what may turn out to be his one and only big audition, although as Max Verstappen put it, Latifi’s not exactly the best reference.

It would be interesting to see how the 27-year-old would do against Albon, who would come out ahead in that one. Alas unless Capito listens to Doornbos, we may never know.

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