Williams confirm they no longer need pay drivers

Jamie Woodhouse
George Russell and Nicholas Latifi in action for Williams. Hungary August 2021

George Russell and Nicholas Latifi both in action for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hungary August 2021

The improved financial situation at Williams means that the team no longer need the funding from pay drivers.

Williams were purchased by investment firm Dorilton Capital midway through 2020, at a time where the team were struggling greatly both on track and off it.

But talk from the Grove outfit has since been far more positive, with investment going on behind the scenes in a bid to drag this famous team out of their slump.

During those darker days though, with funding very much at a premium, Williams turned to the likes of Lance Stroll, Robert Kubica and now Nicholas Latifi for a budget boost in return for a Formula 1 seat.

However, Williams say this is a form of fundraising which they no longer require.

“I think we at Williams, we are in the position that we solely decide on the drivers,” said CEO and team principal Jost Capito, as quoted by Motorsport.com.

“We are not dependent like in the past on somebody, a driver who brings money.

“We have a long-term plan to get back to the top, and we have to choose the drivers that fit into that plan. We are just thinking about this. Of course everybody can talk to us, but the decision is with us.”

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George Russell is coming to the end of his three-year deal with Williams, and is a major contender to earn a promotion to Mercedes for 2022, at the expense of Valtteri Bottas.

And if pay drivers are no longer something which Williams are interested in, then that potentially puts Latifi’s future in doubt.

Unsurprisingly, a number of drivers have been linked with Williams for 2022, including Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniil Kvyat and Alex Albon.

And right now, Capito says his team are holding discussions with almost every driver still requiring a seat for 2022.

“I think every driver who hasn’t got a fixed seat for next year, or has an option for next year, is talking to us at the moment,” Capito confirmed.

“It is the most aspired seat in Formula 1 right now for a team that has to fill a seat.”