Latifi is suffering from lack of confidence and luck
Williams Racing’s head of vehicle performance Dave Robson thinks that Nicholas Latifi is suffering from lack of confidence and luck
The Canadian driver’s performances do not compare to the results achieved by his teammate George Russell. The Englishman, in his third season in F1, one more than Latifi, faced a similar situation in his first season, but he improved a lot and helped with the car development for 2020 and 2021.
This is something which Robson acknowledged as well. “2019 was an incredibly difficult baptism of fire and once Russell got his head around the situation Williams were in, he was extremely good at being clear about the order of the problems that needed tackling and his understanding, say, of the compromises you need to make was very good,” he said when speaking to media including FormulaRapida.net.
“It’s not just his technical input to all of that, all the work he does in the Williams simulator and guiding those designs, but also the way he interacts with everyone and his positivity. Although he can, quite understandably, get frustrated in the heat of the moment, actually his positivity and general the way he is so constructive is very good and exactly what we needed over the last couple of years.
“He’s played a big role and he’s also… there’s something about him. When he talks, people listen. Which is important – provided he’s talking about the right thing. Perhaps right at the beginning he didn’t always get [that] right, but it didn’t take him long to suss that out and understand. He’s been a big part of it,” summed up Robson.
At the same time, teammate Latifi, who made his F1 debut last year, has had an inconsistent run so far, with moments of brilliance. The Canadian’s qualifying pace has been one weakness, and even with a better race pace, it leaves him with too much to do.
As per Robson, it is more to do with confidence lack and having to go up against Russell, who is a formidable opponent, even though both are in similar situation. “I think, he does just seem to either get unlucky or not quite string it together in qualifying when it counts,” said the Williams man, when asked by FormulaRapida.net.
“I think in Baku, like Monaco, and certainly in Imola, and most of the races, but particularly those three, Latifi really has hit the ground running, done really well. In Baku, h lost most of FP2, having had a strong FP1 session, but again on qualifying day that didn’t phase him. FP3 he was strong, running well again, and in qualifying, I guess he was unlucky.
“He said himself, he had three new sets of tyres in Q1, but then he set two lap times, but only one really when the tyres were in good condition. It just wasn’t quite good enough. So I think part of it just stems from having George as your team-mate at Williams. He does have an incredible ability to pull something out when it really matters.
“But I think Nicky just needs to keep at it and stay strong. He’s got everything he needs to drive those laps in terms of his ability to drive the car. He’s just got to do it and believe in himself when it really counts, I think. But it will come. He is very good, he is very talented. He just needs to nail one lap when it really counts, and I think we’ll see his momentum build,” summed up Robson.
In the race then, Latifi looked for a decent result until a goof-up from his race engineer at the stroke of the red flag, which handed him a penalty. With Russell not finishing, it gave Haas a chance to beat the Canadian and move up in the standings – another of the luck factor, which didn’t work for the driver in the end.
[Note: This story was written on FormulaRapida.net]