Latifi: Biggest challenge for rookies is team size

Date published: January 19 2021 - Tom Rawcliffe

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi has said the biggest challenge rookies face when joining Formula 1 is adjusting to the size of their new team.

The Canadian driver transitioned from Formula 2 onto the main stage for the 2020 season as he became the only rookie on the grid who completed a full campaign last year.

This upcoming season sees the arrival of three fresh faces though, with the all-new Haas line-up of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, and Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri taking permanent seats for the first time.

Joining Formula 1 undoubtedly brings its challenges. Driving a new car, for a start, is bound to take some adjusting time, and racing alongside some very experienced rivals is no doubt daunting.

But Latifi is quoted by GPFans as saying the difference to the size of the team behind the scenes is arguably the biggest challenge, with the scale of operations jumping to a completely different level.

He said: “I think whenever you go into a new category there will be a challenge, with all the learning that comes along.

“Formula 1, for me most drivers would say one of the biggest things is when you start to work with such a big volume of people compared to Formula 2, where you have maybe 14 or 15 people for the whole team, both cars, and depending on what team you go into you are into the hundreds of people you are representing.

“There are so many more people to work with, so much more to manage outside of the car besides the driving. I think it’s one of the most challenging things and then everything else that comes along with the actual driving you just make the natural progressions you would do when you jump into a new category.”

The new faces to Formula 1 are not complete strangers to Latifi, with the Canadian having raced against the new Haas line-up before.

In Latifi’s most recent season in Formula 2, the 2019 campaign in which he finished P2 in the Drivers’ Championship, he raced against Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, although they spent most of their time lower down the grid with their respective teams.

However, the Williams man still saw enough from them to judge them as “well rounded”.

“The biggest strengths and weaknesses are a bit difficult for me to judge,” he explained. “I only raced against them for one year in Formula 2.

“I obviously watched them in other categories before as well. I think they are both very well-rounded drivers.”

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