Sunday, March 3, 2024

Canadian Grand Prix: Nicholas Latifi’s qualifications fall back

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
"Alcohol scholar. Twitter lover. Zombieaholic. Hipster-friendly coffee fanatic."

It was still tough to qualify on Saturday at the Canadian Grand Prix for Nicholas Latifi, who looks more than ever on an ejection seat at Williams.

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Formula 1 specialist websites continue to spread rumors about the departure of the Canadian, who does not seem to meet expectations. The 26-year-old has not scored any points since the start of the season. His best race finish was 14 in Miami, when five drivers failed to reach the finish line.

The water that accumulated on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has taken a heavy toll on the Ontarians, who will start the race in 18th place on Sunday. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Alfa Toure’s Yuki Tsunoda will start behind him due to a penalty shootout.

“I had a lot of problems with the brakes. The grip with the rain tires too, the chatty athlete admitted in front of representatives of the media. No one likes to ride with these tires. I prefer to go with the mediators, but there was a lot of water. […] I think I tested all the clearing areas on the track.

With a car as uncompetitive as his, Latifi explained that he would have to turn to the misfortunes of other drivers for places.

“It’s tough and at the end of the day, when it’s hard to drive in dry conditions, it’s also hard in the rain. Fortunately, we’re expecting a dry track tomorrow.

Biester role?

Since Latifi seemed to have one foot outside of Williams, the name Oscar Piastre has been on everyone’s lips. The Australian Alpine reserve driver. However, unless the situation changes, Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso should once again fill the French squad’s seats next season.

Could Latifi’s poor performance open the door to a mid-season change of goalkeeper at Williams? At a press conference, the team manager, Just Capito, categorically denied.

“We have no other plans. We have contracts for this season and plan to honor them,” the two pilots said.

Piastre, 21, has won both Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships in recent years. He is one of the most promising drivers on the track and Alpine could allow him to learn in a less competitive team.

“We have a contract with Oscar and we have options for him,” said Otmar Szafnauer, head of the Alpine company. There is no reason to rush. We’ll take our time and we’ll see in time what happens and make a decision.

This week the young man also took part in a test session with last year’s car. Szafnauer predicted other opportunities for him in the future, driving in F1 in 2023.

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