Nicholas Latifi says being able to adjust to how his car is handling in different situations is the “biggest lesson” he learned last season.
And it’s one that he feels will serve him well with the all-new 2022 cars.
Spending a second season on the Formula 1 grid with Williams, the 2019 Formula 2 runner-up made notable strides forward which included his first-ever F1 points.
The Canadian finished seventh at the Hungarian Grand Prix and followed that up with another points-haul in Belgium.
His seven points helped Williams to eighth place in the Constructors’ Championship, the first time in four seasons that the team didn’t finish bottom of the log.
Latifi believes a big part of his progress was down to him learning how to adjust to what the situation, the car, required at any given time.
“The biggest lesson learned is just how important it is to be able to be flexible and adapt, depending on situation, the way the car’s handling,” he said according to Autosport.
“Especially if it’s not the way to your liking, which from a lot of things I’m hearing people saying about [the 2022 cars] can very much be the case, with a potentially more difficult car to drive.
“I think as a driver adaptation is one of the most important skills and qualities you have to have because you know that there are sometimes situations when things are not as you expect, when you’re not able to predict exactly what the car is going to do, with the way the track conditions are.
“The adaptation is probably the biggest thing, especially in F1, where nothing is ever going to be perfect, the car can always be that little bit better, the driving can always be a little bit better, just needing to adapt to how the car needs to be driven, which might not be to your liking.
“It’s maybe not something new, because it’s something I’ve experienced before in junior categories, but maybe something kind of hammered into me again, just from the experiences on track.”
Latifi has a new team-mate for the 2022 season with Alex Albon replacing George Russell, who has left for Mercedes.
The 2022 championship offers all the teams a new start with the sport introducing all-new cars that embrace ground-effect aerodynamics.
While the paddock seems to be divided as to whether the first year under the new rules will see a more level playing field, teams such as Williams are hoping to take advantage.
Latifi feels it is an exciting time, both for Williams and himself as a driver.
“I think whenever you’re going from your rookie year into your second year of any sport, but I guess in F1 and just racing in particular, there’s probably always going be the biggest improvements and biggest gains on all aspects,” he said.
“Not just the kind of driving stuff, but being in the F1 environment, team environment, being more comfortable in all the situations that you face in F1 that you don’t necessarily face in junior categories.
“It’s not always evidenced on the timing screens, but that’s not the important thing right now for the position we’re in.
“It’s just to continue building myself, my confidence, confidence with the team, and what direction that the team is going in now. It’s a very exciting time.”
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