Nicholas Latifi is well aware that there have been rumors about his position in Formula 1 for a few weeks. But he can only focus on his job, “one race at a time,” he says. The Torontonian will be looking to use the public’s energy to his advantage this weekend for his first ever race on Canadian soil.
Posted yesterday at 16:58
We meet the Williams driver in a small room at 5And floor of a building on rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montreal, Wednesday noon. Well placed on a large – and very comfortable – red suede seat, with the usual smile on his lips, Latifi has the time to answer all the questions of The print. Behind him, we can see the garments of the new Williams clothing collection created specifically for this return to the metropolis.
“I am happy to be back in Canada at last! “, He launches immediately once the polite formulas are exhausted.
26-year-old Toronton has already taken part in free practice sessions at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve with Force India in 2018 and with Williams in 2019, but this weekend will be his first race in his home country.
“It’s a special and surreal feeling,” he suggests. […] It is the city where I was born, here I have a lot of family and friends. It’s a home run. ”
Obviously he doesn’t know how he will feel once his car is lined up on the starting grid, but he knows there will be an “extra buzz of energy” throughout the weekend.
“I’ll just try to do things as usual, as much as possible, and not get carried away with excitement. Obviously I will try to use it to my advantage. ”
Not the expected progress
Nothing is going well for Latifi this season. The Canadian has not accumulated a single point in the first eight races, so he is at the bottom of the drivers’ standings. His best result so far: a 14And place in Miami. It is the other Williams driver, Alexander Albon, to have the only three points of the team, the last overall among the constructors.
Like many other drivers, Latifi struggled to adapt to his new car.
“The car’s performance clearly shows it: it’s the slowest on the grid,” he said. We need to take advantage of the opportunities that come with other people’s bad luck or use some super special strategy and maybe get lucky with the safety cars, and so on. ”
Like every year, rumors run around in the small world of motor racing. And the possibility of Latifi losing his seat before the end of the season is one of the hot topics.
“In this sport there will always be voices on the drivers’ seats. It’s really normal, he says about it. […] We always know that if we don’t perform at the desired level, there will always be questions that will be raised, both in the media and among fans. It is no surprise to me.
“It’s clear that I don’t have the performance I want and expected at this stage, so there is frustration and disappointment on my side,” he added. Also on the side of the team, of course; we are not where we wanted to be. We were hoping to be much more competitive. ”
For me, it’s just focusing on my work, one session at a time, one race at a time. This is all I can do.
However, he claims to feel all the support of his team and to have had “good encounters” with the leaders since the beginning of the season.
“I had problems with my extremity and we discussed how we could improve it,” he explains. There have been a lot of difficult things on both sides: things I need to do better and things the team needs to improve to help me. It goes both ways. ”
“I’m living my dream”
Latifi is in his third season in the top discipline of motorsport. When things don’t go your way, it’s sometimes easy to “get carried away by disappointment or frustration,” he admits.
“But when things go well, when I’m not in that state of mind, I take a step back and say to myself: I’m living my dream, the one I’ve been working on for so many years. I have this feeling of gratitude for being in the position I am in.
“I realize that I am where I wanted to be. It is important to do this once in a while. ”