Formula 1 team Williams will let Toronto driver Nicholas Latifi go on his contract at the end of the season.
Williams made the announcement on Friday, without saying who will replace the 27-year-old Latifi. His accident at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of the season last year caused a chaotic restart with one lap to go that saw Max Verstappen overtake Lewis Hamilton to claim the title.
Latifi hasn’t scored a point this season.
He was easily outclassed by Nyck De Vries, who replaced Alex Albon at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago and finished ninth by two points.
Latifi is in his third season with Williams and his best result was seventh at the Hungarian Grand Prix last year.
“Although we didn’t achieve the expected results together, it was still a fantastic journey. Getting those first points in Hungary last year was a moment I will never forget,” mentioned Latifi.
“I will approach the next chapter of my career with special memories of my association with this dedicated team. I know that none of us will stop trying hard by the end of the season. »
Latifi was a popular but error-prone driver who found himself in the spotlight at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year.
Hamilton was on course to claim victory and claim an all-time record eighth F1 world title when Latifi crashed his Williams into a wall with just a few laps remaining.
This crash led to the safety car exit, then a restart of the race with one lap to go, and a late twist ensued when Verstappen passed Hamilton on fresh tires to claim the title in one of the most controversial moments in F1 history.
Latifi has been the subject of harassment on social media and even death threats. He hired a bodyguard on a trip to London with his girlfriend.
Williams team principal Jost Capito praised Latifi’s dedication.
“On behalf of the entire team, I would like to say a big thank you to Nicholas for his three years of hard work with Williams,” Capito said. He is an excellent team player who has a great attitude towards his colleagues and his work and who is appreciated and respected throughout the company. Our association is now coming to an end, but I know that he will do everything possible to maximize what we can do together. »
Latifi’s departure could open the door for De Vries alongside Albon for 2023 and beyond, with Albon tied down in a multi-season deal.
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