Latifi expects ‘some chats’ to iron out rules of engagement

Michelle Foster
Nicholas Latifi in the Williams garage speaking with engineer. Barcelona February 2022

Nicholas Latifi in the Williams garage speaking with engineer. Barcelona February 2022

Nicholas Latifi is expecting “some chats” at the first drivers’ briefing of the season with the drivers wanting clarification over what is and is not allowed.

Last season, headed by then-FIA race director Michael Masi, the Formula 1 stewards made some confusing calls most notably when it came to wheel-to-wheel racing.

The Austrian Grand Prix saw several drivers penalised for forcing others off the track, handed five-second penalties for the offence.

However, later in the season when Max Verstappen seemingly did the same to Lewis Hamilton at Interlagos, he wasn’t penalised for it.

And then two races later, again up against Hamilton, the Red Bull driver was given a penalty for what he felt was the exact same action.

It left many in the paddock confused as to what is and isn’t allowed.

Williams driver Latifi is hoping that under the FIA’s new system there will be more consistency, but that needs to start with a briefing from the race directors laying out the rules.

“Last year it was clear with some racing actions, amongst the drivers there was a feeling there were not the most consistent calls,” Latifi said as per GPFans.

“Sometimes a driver got away with forcing another driver off the track without a penalty, other times involved a penalty.

“There has obviously been some changes now within the FIA and new race directors.

“They are going to be putting in place some new measures, talking about this new virtual assistant race control.

“So I think there is going to be a process to hopefully improve the consistency and in terms of what is and isn’t allowed.

“I am sure in one of the first drivers’ meetings there will be some chats amongst us all to try and get some clarification on that so we know from race one what is allowed and what is not.”


Last month FIA president Mohammed bin Sulayem announced sweeping changes that included Masi’s departure.

Instead Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will rotate the role of race director, assisted by Herbie Blash as permanent senior advisor.

There will also be a new Virtual Race Control Room that, working similar to football’s Video Assistance Referee system, that will help apply the sporting regulations.