Williams on Nico Hulkenberg, Nyck de Vries and timeline for 2023 driver decision
Williams team principal Jost Capito has opened up about the drivers in contention to take a drive alongside Alex Albon at the team next season.
The news of Nicholas Latifi’s departure had been widely expected, before it was officially confirmed heading into the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.
A queue of drivers has formed to try and take the Canadian’s place in the team, with Capito confirming that talks are taking place with multiple candidates about the seat, though he is not expecting a quick decision.
One of the names mentioned had been veteran campaigner Nico Hulkenberg, whose name has also been linked with a move to Haas, but Capito said to RTL: “At the moment we have no contact with him.”
Reserve driver Nyck de Vries stepped into the breach and performed excellently at short notice in Albon’s absence at Monza, scoring points on his Formula 1 debut.
He has also been linked with a full-time Williams drive, but his most likely move is set to be a seat with AlphaTauri next season, which in turn would allow Pierre Gasly to head to Alpine.
Capito admitted De Vries’ situation is out of his hands, saying of the Dutchman: “It’s not just up to us, the interest of other teams in Nyck de Vries is also relatively high. We cannot and do not want to decide yet. If he chooses another team beforehand, that’s the way it is.”
But the team principal also addressed the possibility of promoting from within, as their own junior driver Logan Sargeant has put himself in the frame after taking third in the Formula 2 standings this year.
Given the time Albon has spent in Formula 1 already, Capito thinks this opens up the possibility of running a rookie at Williams.
“I absolutely see Alex Albon as an experienced driver,” he explained. “He was at AlphaTauri, he was at Red Bull. For this you can then take a young driver.
“When you’re racing for the World Championship, you probably can’t afford it. In the situation with Williams is that we’re not racing for the title, but we still have to work ahead, you can also rely on a young driver you can rely on for the long term, who you have under control yourself and who you don’t train for another team.”
Capito also confirmed that under-pressure Haas driver Mick Schumacher is “definitely an option” for Williams in 2023, but an announcement surrounding Albon’s team-mate should not be expected any time soon.
“Most likely, that will be decided after the season. I think it should be shortly after Abu Dhabi or a week or two after that,” Capito said.
“The whole market is on the move, something is changing every day. We didn’t put any pressure on ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we can’t decide if we wanted to before.”
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