Nicholas Latifi linked with potential move to IndyCar for 2023 season

Sam Cooper
Nicholas Latifi in the pit lane. Baku June 2022.

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi walks through the pit lane. Azerbaijan June 2022.

Nicholas Latifi could become the next Formula 1 driver to make the switch to IndyCar once his Williams contract ends at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

The Canadian has been on the grid since 2020 but is facing an uncertain future after he was informed the team would not be offering an extension.

At the age of 27, there is no reason to suggest that will be the end of Latifi’s driving career though and while a return to Formula 1 seems unlikely, it appears he is being lined up for a seat in IndyCar.

F1 to IndyCar is a well trodden route with the likes of Romain Grosjean, Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi and Marcus Ericsson all taking part in the 2022 season – and it is the latter two that could soon have a new team-mate.

According to a report by David Land, Latifi has been rumoured to have been offered the chance to drive Chip Ganassi’s fourth car alongside Ericsson, 2021 champion Alex Palou and Scott Dixon.

Chip Ganassi returned to being a four-car team for the first time since 2017 last season with Palou, Dixon and Ericcsson being full-time drivers alongside part-time drivers Jimmie Johnson and Tony Kanaan.

Latifi said in September he did not have anything confirmed for 2023 but was keeping his options open.

“I don’t really have much detail to give you,” he said. “I’ve definitely been exploring all the options, let’s say.

“I was always one of those people that said even before this year, before getting into Formula 1 in general, whenever I was asked ‘what if F1 doesn’t work out, what if you don’t get a Formula 1 drive next year or what if you don’t even get Formula 1 all those years ago, what’s going to be next?’, I was always kind of ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it’.

“But obviously that bridge has come this year, a few weeks ago. So I’m in the process of just kind of evaluating all the options really.”

A move to IndyCar would also represent a chance for the Canadian to be closer to home and his family.

Nicholas Latifi was not good enough for F1 but does not deserve his meme status

While Latifi’s F1 record speaks for itself, there is no driver on the grid who has been the subject of as much ridicule as Latifi.

‘Goatifi’ is just one of the many nicknames that have been sarcastically placed upon him and even when rumours of his move to IndyCar were being circulated, fans were quick to say the sport was not ready for him.

There is no doubt Latifi is not at the level required in Formula 1, both George Russell and Alex Albon have consistently outperformed him, but he is by no means a driver without talent.

His status as a pay driver, bankrolled by his father’s company, also does not help his reputation. While the likes of Nikita Mazepin were shoehorned in solely off the back of their father’s money, the same cannot be said of Latifi.

Yes, the sponsorship money he brings would no doubt be one of the reasons Williams chose him, but his second-place finish in his final season of F2 shows he has talent.

At the age of 27, there is plenty of time for Latifi to carve out a post-F1 career and if he performs well in the States, perhaps the memes that follow him like a ball and chain may finally die off.

Read more: F1 heads Stateside as Red Bull’s cost cap cloud continues to darken Max Verstappen’s title win