The era of pay drivers in Formula one is not yet over. The son of the Aston Martin owner Lance Stroll has contributed just 20% of the team’s points this season despite racing against an ageing Sebastian Vettel. Similarly at Williams their Canadian driver Nicholas Latifi’s father contributed around $40m to the team’s budget at the last financial publication.Damon Hill believes it’s time Latifi should be sacked by Williams. Latifi finished 21st in the driver’s standings in his first full season in 2020 3 places behind team mate George Russell who scored the only points for the team.
While latifi did score points in 2022 his 7 were less than half of the 16 scored by Russell.
This year again the Canadian driver finds himself 21st after 16 races and no points, while debutant and 1 time F1 racer Nyck de Vries has two points and sits ahead of him inn the driver standings.
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Driving for the back of the grid teams often disguises how good or bad drivers’ really are but after almost 3 seasons Latifi is clearly not good enough for Formula One.
When Sky’s anchor suggested we should feel sorry for the Williams driver, Damon Hill retorted, ”I’m sorry but this is the way it is.”
“In this case, Nicholas hasn’t got the pace that he needs to stay in that position in Formula 1.
“He’s had some good moments but along comes a guy who’s not even driven in the Grand Prix before, and he’s done a fantastic job. I know he [De Vries] had grid penalties and stuff like that, which helped him up the grid, but he still delivered in qualifying and didn’t really make a mistake.
“He’s done enough for us to be talking about him, he’s got Toto [Wolff] talking about him. That’s what you need to be doing to be a Formula 1 driver.”
De Vries performed wonders when called up at the last minute to substitute for Alex Albon who was diagnosed with appendicitis on Saturday morning in Monza.
Whilst Latifi failed to make it out of Q1, de Vries not only qualified for the second session but due to his unfamiliarity with the car’s controls accidentally changed the brake bias causing him to slide in the 2nd Lesmo.
The young Dutch driver qualified 13th but could easily have been 11th or even supposed Alonso’s time and made it into Q3.
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Toto Wolff was De Vries boss until earlier this year as Nyck drove for the successful Mercedes Formula E team, winning the drivers’ championship.
“Nyck was an official Mercedes driver until we stopped Formula E a few weeks ago and he won the championship for us, our first World Championship,” Wolff eulogised.
“But we haven’t got a management contract with him, we haven’t got any influence on his career nor are we taking any cut of his future earnings.
“Nyck deserves to have a place in F1. He has shown that because of the limited experience he had from driving around with the rake in FP1.
“Then he was thrown into the cold in FP3, not even at the beginning but at the end – that is a line in the sand. It puts down a marker.”
Nyck De Vries is linked with Williams for 2023, though with the funds provided by Sofina who sponsor Latifi its unclear whether he or Albon would be leaving the Grove based team.
“I think we forget how he dominated in F2. He was absolutely great in his first Formula E championship when he won the championship,” concluded Toto
“He’s going to do what the car is capable of delivering. He’s for sure going to extract what is there.”
Due to complications with Albon’s surgery where he suffered respiratory failure, its uncertain whether he will return for the Singapore GP in two weeks, or whether De Vries will again substitute putting more pressure on Latifi.
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He indeed should get sacked & unfortunately for him, Williams is independent on pay drivers these days, so he’s seriously under threat with his subpar performance level.
Why are you putting words in Damon’s mouth? He didn’t say ‘sacked’ or anything close
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This Canadian race fan is embarrassed that the two F1 drivers from my country are such tail-enders. Jacques and Gilles Villeneuve did us proud, but these two? I’m also embarrassed for my sport that we still have drivers in the self-proclaimed pinnacle of motorsport who are there largely because their daddies can write eight-figure cheques. Yes, Damon is right – they should be gone. If this was football or hockey, they’d both be in the minor leagues. So one has to ask, what makes F1 so special if all it takes is wads of cash to get you on a team?
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