Williams boss Jost Capito has said Nicholas Latifi’s place at the team is not under immediate threat – but they are keeping a close eye on Logan Sargeant’s development.
Latifi is the only full time driver yet to score a point this season and that has not looked like changing any time soon with his best result coming at Silverstone and a P12.
Many have begun to question Latifi’s place in F1 and having been soundly beaten by team-mate George Russell in recent years, that trend has continued into 2022 with the arrival of Alex Albon.
The Canadian is contracted until the end of the season but it seems Williams are not entirely sure of an extension even with the extra sponsorship money he brings.
Team principal Capito has admitted the team are watching the progress of academy driver Sergeant who could go on to replace Latifi.
“We have time and various options,” Capito said when asked about Latifi’s situation by Motorsport-total.com.
“Once we can see how Nicky develops with the new package now. It took Nicky a relatively long time to get confidence and trust in the car with the new regulations. At Silverstone, he says, somehow the knot broke.
“So we’ll have to see how he develops, because he was really good last year alongside George Russell. If he can get that back, there’s no reason to talk about replacing him. Now we have to see how he develops and what the alternatives are. We also have a good driver in our academy who can also progress.”
Capito was asked if it was Sergeant who he was referring to and the 63-year-old German said “exactly.”
“He’s developing super well. And I think I’m known for promoting young talent quickly and not putting him on a bench somewhere for too long. We have time at the moment and can see how it develops.”
— Nicholas Latifi (@NicholasLatifi) August 17, 2022
Latifi inadvertently became an important part of last year’s title battle when his crash in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix brought out the Safety Car which led to Max Verstappen’s win. As a result, Latifi received abuse online including some death threats and Capito believes that did affect the Canadian.
He said: “I think it did have an impact. When you get death threats and you get insulted, nobody just puts that away.
“He shut it down eventually, but even if you shut it down – you have it in the back of your mind, it’s there.
“Even if I don’t see it anymore, I know it’s there. We tried to build his confidence, of course, because that was so unfounded, what happened there.”
Latifi is last in the Drivers’ standings with Williams occupying the same position in the Constructors’ as Formula 1 gears up for its return from the summer break with the Belgian Grand Prix.