Jost Capito ‘expects a lot’ from Nicholas Latifi after Williams renewal
Williams team principal Jost Capito said it was an “obvious and easy” decision to retain Nicholas Latifi next season, but they retain high expectations of him this season.
News of Latifi’s contract renewal came at the same time as the announcement that Alex Albon would be joining Williams in 2022, to reunite the pair, who were Formula 2 team-mates with DAMS in 2018.
The departing George Russell had reportedly called for Albon to be brought back into F1 and take his seat at Williams, but Capito feels there is still more to come from the sister car before the season is out.
“We still expect a lot of Nicky this year,” the team principal said to Formula1.com. “We want him to improve and get better. If you see the data, it’s quite a different view than what is seen in public.
“He’s had bad luck and technical issues this season where he couldn’t shine in qualifying like he could have done so he could have been much better. We need to give him better support so he can really show his real talent.
“Next year we want him to again make a step forward. Of course, it depends how the car performs next year but no one knows what the level of competition of any car will be next year.
“We expect Alex and Nicholas to develop the car. We don’t expect to have a front running car, but we want to be a sustained and continuous midfield runner and that means we need a high development speed.
“That’s where I really want a lot of input from Nicky and Alex during the season.”
Mega happy for @WilliamsRacing, @NicholasLatifi and @alex_albon. Awesome line-up for 2022, very well deserved. 👊 pic.twitter.com/dHpg4RxvZi
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) September 8, 2021
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Latifi is yet to out-qualify Russell in equal machinery at Williams, and the Brit has generally had the measure of his team-mate throughout their time together in the team.
But the Canadian said he feels ready to step into Russell’s breach and lead the team forward next season, and his boss believes having “consistency” in the team in the shape of Latifi will have its benefits.
“Maintaining Nicholas was for us a very obvious and an easy decision,” said Capito. “Nicky had his rookie season last year, it was a difficult year for F1 so you can imagine how difficult it was for a rookie with all the [Covid-19] restrictions.
“We have seen him improving a lot this year. Last year everything was new for him, now he is improving a lot.
“I like to have some consistency in the team, too, and he’s the consistent part. We can build on what he has achieved so far. And he can help bring Alex in.
“They know each other from when they were team-mates in F2 so his introduction in the team with support of Nicholas will be easier than it would have been with other drivers.”
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