Nicholas Latifi to leave Williams at end of F1 season | Racing News

LONDON: Canadian driver Nicholas Latifi going to leave williams when his contract expires at the end of the season, the Formula 1 team announced on Friday.
Latifi, 27 and in his third season in Formula 1, is the only driver on the current starting grid yet to score a point in 16 races so far this year. He has a total of seven career points in 55 starts.
Williams, a former champion but now last in the constructors’ standings, has already confirmed Thai rider Alex Albon for 2023 and beyond.
“Although we didn’t get the results together that we were hoping for, it was still a fantastic journey,” Latifi said in a statement thanking the team for his time with them.
“Getting those first points in Hungary last year was a moment I will never forget, and I will approach the next chapter of my career with special memories of my time with this dedicated team.
“I know none of us will stop trying hard until the end of the season.”
Team boss Jost Capito hailed a “great team player” who was loved and respected in the sport.
Latifi also had a lasting impact on the sport by triggering the controversial end to Abu Dhabi’s decisive title run last season when he crashed late and upset the race.
The crash led to the deployment of the safety car, with a modified restart procedure allowing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to overtake Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the final lap and deprive the Briton of an unprecedented eighth title.
Latifi later revealed he received death threats in the deluge of online abuse and hired extra security.
The news of his departure officially opens another seat in an exceptionally lively driver market, which has no shortage of suitors.
Dutch driver Nyck de Vries, the 2021 Formula E champion, replaced Albon in this month’s Italian Grand Prix and outclassed Latifi throughout by starting eighth and finishing ninth on his debut.
De Vries has been testing with Renault-owned Alpine in Hungary this week, however, and has also held talks with Red Bull who may be willing to let Pierre Gasly leave AlphaTauri for Alpine if they can provide a solid replacement.
Williams already has 21-year-old American Formula 2 driver Logan Sargeant in its driver academy and sees him as an F1 prospect.
Sargeant will take part in Friday practice with Williams at next month’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, giving the Mercedes-powered team a good opportunity to assess its potential in the current car.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who leaves McLaren at the end of the year, is also looking for a seat while Mick Schumacher’s position at Haas is uncertain.
Former F1 drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Antonio Giovinazzi are also potential suitors.

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