Nicholas Latifi has discussed the “big sacrifice” drivers from outside Europe must make to pursue their F1 dream.
Although Formula 1 races are increasingly being scattered around the continents, with the United States and Middle East the current areas of focus, all 10 teams are still based in Europe.
That means in order to be at the sport’s epicentre and to maximise their opportunities, budding F1 drivers from across the globe often need to relocate at a young age to connect with prospective employers and start climbing the racing ladder.
On the current grid, that applies to Canadian duo Latifi and Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez from Mexico, Daniel Ricciardo from Australia and Zhou Guanyu from China, although Yuki Tsunoda was making his way through the ranks in Japan until the end of 2018.
With Formula 1 now hoping to welcome another American driver onto the grid in the next few years to accompany the surge of interest in the sport Stateside, Williams driver Latifi has described what it can entail for an aspiring youngster – such as Logan Sargeant, a Floridian attached to his own team’s academy.
“It’s definitely a very big commitment,” said the 26-year-old from Montreal. “Not only for North Americans – I mean, obviously Daniel [Ricciardo] can relate to that quite a lot as well.
“It’s definitely a big sacrifice. You move away from your family and friends and your home from a very young age.
“Racing in Europe in the junior series, on the weekends most of the other drivers are able to take an hour or a two-hour flight home, see their family and friends in the off-time, and that obviously was not a luxury for me and I’m sure for Checo or Lance or Daniel.
“So it is difficult, and it’s something that comes with the territory. It’s something I was very happy to do, to pursue my passion.
“So I guess any driver that’s not really European-based, whether they are in the junior series or already racing at a high level, it is a commitment.
“I’m sure if they want to make that step, it’s something they will be happy to do because obviously this is the pinnacle and I’m sure most drivers would love to be in that position.”
Latifi is in his third season with Williams but speculation is increasing about his future after a poor first five races to his 2022 campaign – and especially now Nyck de Vries, the Formula E World Champion, is being given an FP1 opportunity by the team at the Spanish Grand Prix.