Nicholas Latifi has praised Sebastian Vettel for having the welfare of all racing drivers at heart, not only his contemporaries in Formula 1.
Barring a big change of mind, Vettel will leave F1 at the end of this season as a four-time World Champion with his career having begun in 2007.
During the intervening 15 years, the German has matured into a hugely respected figure knowledgeable about a broad range of subjects both within and outside of the sport.
Among the motorsport-related topics closest to Vettel’s heart is, understandably, safety and that ties in perfectly with his role as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association – a position to which he was first appointed in 2010, the year of his first world title triumph.
At this season’s Austrian Grand Prix, Vettel received a suspended fine of 25,000 euros from the FIA after he reportedly flounced out of a drivers’ briefing without permission to leave, frustrated by an argument among his rivals and stewards.
Latifi has expressed admiration for the 35-year-old Aston Martin driver and how he is prepared to speak up for all competitors, especially when it comes to issues such as ‘sausage kerbs’ on circuits – which Vettel said “have to disappear” following a pair of frightening incidents at last year’s United States Grand Prix.
“Sebastian is definitely one of the more vocal ones – that’s not the right word, but he’s definitely one of the drivers who always speaks his mind and gives it to the stewards when he has one,” said the Canadian, who races for Williams, quoted by Motorsport-total.com.
“Especially when it comes to the safety of drivers, and not only the drivers on the [F1] grid but also in the junior classes. Just take the example of the ‘sausage kerbs’.
“Our cars get over them much better than the cars in the junior categories and we’ve seen some drivers get hurt pretty badly in the last few years. He’s always the first to speak up and push race officials to get rid of them.
“And that’s the same with other issues, which shows the fact he’s willing to take on the role of GPDA director for such a long time and he obviously cares about the future of the sport and the welfare of the drivers.
“It also shows what a good guy he is because logically it’s extra work on top of his already busy life as a Formula 1 driver.”