Latifi: Pace is ‘just not there’ in any form for Williams

Williams' Nicholas Latifi at the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, June 2022.

Williams' Nicholas Latifi at the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, June 2022.

Williams’ Nicholas Latifi has bemoaned the performance level of the FW44, revealing there are “no answers” to their lack of pace.

Having finally had an opportunity to take part in his home race in his third season in Formula 1, Latifi was left a disgruntled 16th at the chequered flag after struggling for any sort of pace all weekend.

The Canadian racer finished 15 seconds behind team-mate Alex Albon, despite a late-race Safety Car bunching the pack back together in the closing stages of the race.

Hailing from Toronto, racing in Montreal still gave the Williams driver a boost of support as COVID meant no racing in Canada in 2020 and ’21.

“I mean, obviously, the overall experience of the weekend has been pretty special,” he told the official Formula 1 website.

“It’s great to finally have that first home race and the support I felt – family, friends, all the fans in the grandstands – has been amazing.”

But, aside from the enjoyment of racing in front of his home fans, Latifi said there was little else to be happy about.

“In terms of the actual on-track stuff, there was nothing really enjoyable about the race. We were just lacking a lot of pace. We have to try and understand why, because at the moment there’s no answers.

“Low fuel, high fuel, the pace is just not there, so we have two weeks now to try and do a bit of analysis because it’s not just this race, it’s even from the previous ones. There’s something not quite right there. We’ll see what we can find.”

Latifi is yet to score a point this season, while Albon has scored two points finishes – in Australia and Miami.

Nicholas Latifi crashes into the wall. Monaco, May 2022.
Williams' Nicholas Latifi after sliding and crashing into the wall. Monaco, May 2022.

Rumours swirl about Latifi’s future in the sport, with the main suggestion being that Oscar Piastri could be set to replace the Canadian for 2023. The Alpine reserve and Academy driver won the Formula 2 Championship in 2021 and Szafnauer told media in Canada that he believes Piastri will be on the F1 grid next season.

Szafnauer was spotted with Williams boss’ Jost Capito at the Williams hospitality in Canada, although Szafnauer explained his presence there was due to the arrival of mutual friend Michael Andretti in the paddock.

As for whether Piastri could be set for a seat in 2023, or even a potential mid-season replacement for Latifi as has been mooted by some publications, Szafnauer refused to be drawn into the speculation.

“Oscar’s a bright young talent coming through, as we all know,” he said.

“And he’s been testing last year’s car. At more than just Silverstone. He’s done a few others and will do some more in the future. He’s doing very well.

“We’re contracted with Oscar and we have some options on him. So, there’s no real need to hurry that, so we’ll take our time and at the right moment, within the silly season, we’ll have a look around and make those types of decisions.”