Williams Racing’s head of vehicle performance Dave Robson has praised Nicholas Latifi’s progress in his second season of Formula 1.
Latifi’s second year in Formula 1 has seen him dramatically improve after a brutally tough rookie campaign that saw him fail to score any World championship points. This year, the Canadian has secured two points finishes for Williams. His best result came in Hungary after a masterful drive in difficult conditions was rewarded with seventh place at the chequered flag.
Brazil marked another milestone for Latifi, as he managed to out-qualify team leader George Russell for the first time in his Formula 1 career with the Canadian, then going on to finish ahead of Russell in Sprint Qualifying.
In a media session held after last weekend’s Sprint Qualifying in Brazil, in which Motorlat was in attendance, Robson expressed his view that Latifi can lead the team in the near future.
“He has continued to evolve, and he’s pretty much been on top of George all weekend here, right from the off, and he was able to carry that through Qualifying yesterday, which was good.”
“He definitely knows what he wants the car to do, and in that regard; he’s very able to lead the team, he’s probably been a little bit frustrated this year because we haven’t done anything on this car for quite a while now as we’re focusing on next year, so hopefully we’ll see his input come into fruition next year, then we’ll really see how well he can help us develop the car against the new regulations at the beginning of next year.”
“He still continues to develop; he’s very strong, he’s good when the car suits him and when he really can get his head around on what he has to do, which he’s done this weekend despite the car not being that great, his feedback is good, and he knows what it is he needs the car to do so it all bodes well for next year.”
Interlagos also marked the final Sprint Qualifying session of the 2021 season, with Liberty Media’s Ross Brawn hinting that there may be six Sprint events next year to add to the three that took place this year.
But Robson has stated that Sprint Qualifying will need some adjustments before its second season of usage; however, the Brit believes that reversed grids, which are used in other championships such as Formula 2 and the British Touring Car Championship, wouldn’t improve Sprint Qualifying.
“I think we’re getting there; there has been a few mixed results with the Sprint itself; I think overall, the weekend format shows a lot of promise; I think that having that competitive session on a Friday evening is really good.”
“I think there's still probably a little bit of tweaking to do on the format of the Saturday; it’s a bit hard to know what that this; I think it was helped today by Lewis being out of position; clearly, that did make it a good and interesting session, the question is whether you push that all the way, and we go back to what we have always rejected in terms of the reverse grid.”
“I don’t think that quite works because rather than Lewis starting behind a whole load of slow cars, he would have been starting still with all the quick cars just in a reverse order, so it would have been much more difficult for him.”
“To be honest, I am still not sure what you need to do to make that Saturday session as interesting as the Friday and Sunday sessions, but I think that format of having one competitive session on each day does work, Friday’s great, Sunday’s always great so there's no need to change that, there's just something we need to do on Saturday just to make it a bit better, which maybe comes down to venues I am not sure, I think that’s something Ross and his team need to have a bit of a think about over the winter but I think we’re getting close.