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Nicholas Latifi and Williams to part ways with Nyck de Vries tipped for full-time race seat in 2023

By
23 September 2022
A

spot on the Formula One grid for 2023 is up for grabs after Williams confirmed they would be parting company with Nicholas Latifi.

The oft-criticised Canadian-Iranian will depart at the end of a torrid season in which he remains the only full-time driver not to have scored a solitary point after 16 races.

“Williams Racing and Nicholas Latifi will part ways at the end of the 2022 season,” Williams announced in a statement on Friday. “We want to thank Nicky for his commitment and hard work over the last three years and wish him all the best in the next steps of his career.”

Latifi said: “So, I’m parting ways with Williams at the end of the year. Honoured to have represented them for the last three years. A massive thanks to the whole team – it’s been an incredible journey and I’ve enjoyed every second of it. Determined to end 2022 positively. Six races left!”

He added: “I will move onto the next chapter of my career with special memories of my time with this dedicated team. I know none of us will stop putting in every effort until the end of the season.”

Latifi was outperformed by reserve driver Nyck de Vries at the recent Italian Grand Prix, with the Dutchman securing an impressive ninth-placed finish in his maiden race filling in for Alex Albon, who missed out to appendicitis.

The popular former Formula E and Formula 2 champion earned widespread praise from the likes of reigning champion Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton for his performance in Monza, where Latifi finished 15th in a final field of 16 cars.

De Vries will be considered a leading contender to replace Latifi, having already been linked with roles at Alpine, Red Bull and AlphaTauri, while he has also been behind the wheel of a Mercedes in practice this season.

Williams development driver Logan Sargeant could also reportedly be in the frame to succeed Latifi, with Albon already locked down for 2023 and beyond on a new long-term contract signed last month.

Nyck de Vries filled in for Alex Albon at the Italian Grand Prix and impressed in the Williams

/ REUTERS

On Thursday, AlphaTauri announced that Yuki Tsunoda would remain with the team for next season, alongside Pierre Gasly. However, the latter is being targeted by Alpine, who lost out to McLaren in their bitter legal fight to make reserve driver Oscar Piastri the replacement for Fernando Alonso ahead of his move to Aston Martin.

Latifi has gained seven points in total from 55 races since being promoted by Williams as the replacement for Robert Kubica in 2020, with his career-best result coming with a seventh-placed finish at a hectic 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.

He is perhaps best known for accidentally crashing during the final stages of last season’s dramatic closing race in Abu Dhabi, which prompted the pivotal safety car drama involving title rivals Verstappen and Hamilton.

Latifi later revealed that he received death threats after that race and even had to hire personal bodyguards to protect him and his family after receiving a torrent of vitriol.

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