Nicholas Latifi: P9 in Japan wouldn’t have stopped Williams from swinging the axe

Sam Cooper
Nicholas Latifi puts on his helmet. Monza September 2022

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi puts on his helmet. Monza September 2022

Nicholas Latifi finished in the points for the first time this season in Japan, but does not believe that would have been enough to have saved his Williams seat.

The Canadian became the final full-time driver to secure points in 2022 at Suzuka when he secured a P9 finish in what could prove to be the last points-score of his F1 career.

Williams announced at the end of September they would not renew the 27-year-old’s contract, with Logan Sargeant widely rumoured to be their preferred candidate, which meant Latifi’s three-year stint with the team was coming to an end.

In their announcement of the news, Williams did not give a reason as to why Latifi would not be kept on but a quick glance at his recent results would suggest an obvious answer.

Latifi has scored a total of nine points across his 57-race career and while the Williams car is by no means one of the quickest on the grid, his previous team-mates have consistently outscored him.

Alex Albon was able to put the Williams car into the points three times this season before the Canadian had done so once.

He broke his duck at Suzuka but it took him eight more races than any other driver, with Mick Schumacher being the second slowest to do so this season.

Latifi is under no impression his P9 result in Japan would have changed Williams’ mind if they had not already come to a decision.

“It’s nice to get some points for sure,” Latifi told F1.com. “But in the end, even if a decision hadn’t been made yet about my future, a race like this wouldn’t have really changed much.

“I’ve always said it was about consistency across results, not one good result. So it’s obviously a nice personal boost for me for sure.

“Coming to the end of the season and my time with the team, it’s just some more points for the team which is always great. But beyond that, nothing much more.”

Williams and Haas are the only two teams yet to have completed their 2023 driver line-up. A strong candidate in Nyck de Vries is now off the market with his move to AlphaTauri confirmed, which means the number of viable candidates is dwindling.

F2 driver and member of the Williams Driver Academy Sargeant is emerging as the favourite for the seat, with team boss Jost Capito admitting in August the young American had caught his eye.

Sargeant is currently third in this year’s F2 Championship and if he remains there, will have enough points to gain a Super Licence.