Williams no longer dependent on F1 pay drivers - Capito

The Williams Formula 1 team no longer requires drivers who bring sponsorship with them, according to CEO Jost Capito.
(L to R): George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing and Nicholas Latifi (CDN) Williams Racing - 2022 Car Launch.
(L to R): George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing and Nicholas Latifi (CDN)…
© xpbimages.com

In a bid to alleviate its well-documented money troubles in recent years as the cost of competing in F1 increased, Williams turned to a number of drivers who brought substantial financial backing, including Pastor Maldonado, Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin.

But fresh investment from new owners Dorilton Capital in the wake of its purchase of Williams last year has left the Grove-based outfit in a much stronger financial position.

Williams is yet to confirm its driver line-up for 2022. George Russell appears closer than ever to landing a Mercedes seat, while Nicholas Latifi - who does bring financial backing - is also out of contract at the end of the year.

Capito has already stressed Williams is in no rush to announce its driver plans and made it clear at the Hungarian GP that it is not looking for candidates who can bring sponsorship.

“I think we at Williams, we are in the position that we solely decide on the drivers,” Capito explained. “We are not dependent like in the past on somebody, a driver who brings money.

“We have a long-term plan to get back to the top, and we have to choose the drivers that fit into that plan. We are just thinking about this. Of course everybody can talk to us, but the decision is with us.”

Nicholas Latifi (CDN) Williams Racing FW43B.
Nicholas Latifi (CDN) Williams Racing FW43B.
© xpbimages.com

Williams has been impressed by Latifi’s performances compared to Russell this season despite the fact the Canadian is yet to out-qualify his teammate.

Even before Latifi scored his first F1 points with a strong drive to seventh in Hungary, Capito had said he felt there was “no reason not to have him in next year”.

“When you compare him to George, it’s not that big of a difference, especially in the races,” Capito added. “He has good race speed, he brings the car home, he doesn’t make mistakes, he helps the team and is liked by the team.

“And he had a couple of the qualifyings where he had bad luck with the wind conditions that changed from his run to George’s run. Our car is very sensitive to the wind conditions where George was just out there when it was really good for our car.

“And then a couple of minutes later when Nicholas was out, it was the complete opposite. So when we analyse it, this is pretty good so there’s no reason not to have him in next year.”

The likes of Valtteri Bottas, Aston Martin reserve Nico Hulkenberg and newly-crowned Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries have found themselves linked with a potential Williams drive for 2022.

“I think every driver who hasn’t got a fixed seat for next year, or has an option for next year, is talking to us at the moment,” Capito said.

“It is the most aspired seat in Formula 1 right now for a team that has to fill a seat.”

Read More