Nicholas Latifi is well aware that a few weeks ago rumors have been circulating about his position in Formula 1. But he can only focus on his work, “one race at a time,” he said. The Torontonian will try to use crowd energy to his advantage this weekend in his first race on Canadian soil.
Posted yesterday at 4:58pm.
We met pilot Williams in a small room at fivee The floor of a building on West Sainte-Catherine Street, Montreal, Wednesday noon. Well settled on a large bench – very comfortable in red suede, with the usual smile on his face, Latife has time to answer all my questions Journalism. Behind him, we can see items from Williams’ new clothing collection created especially for this return to the capital.
“I’m happy to be back in Canada, finally!”, starting from the start once the polite formulas are done.
The 26-year-old Toronton has already participated in free practice sessions at 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 feels special and surreal,” he suggests. […] It’s the city I was born in, and I have a lot of family and friends here. It is the home of the race. »
He obviously doesn’t know how he’ll feel once he’s lined up on the starting grid, but he knows there will be an “extra buzz of energy” throughout the weekend.
“I will just try to do things in the same way as usual, as much as possible, and not get too excited. Obviously, I will try to use it to my advantage.”
Not expected progress
Nothing is going well for Latifi this season. The Canadian has not scored a single point in the first eight races, so he is last in the drivers’ standings. His best result so far: 14e place in Miami. And the other driver from Williams, Alexander Albon, who only took the three points on the team, eventually died out among the decision makers.
Like many other drivers, Latifi struggled to adapt to his new car.
“The performance of the car clearly shows it: it is the slowest on the grid,” he said. We have to take advantage of opportunities that arise with other people’s misfortune or use some super special strategy, maybe we get lucky with safety cars, etc. »
Like every year, the rumor mill races into the tiny world of motorsports. 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 rumors about the driver’s seats. It’s really normal, he says of it. […] We always know that if we don’t perform to the required level, there will always be questions that will be raised, both in the media and among fans. Not surprising to me.
“I obviously don’t have the offers I wanted and I was expecting at this point, so there is frustration and disappointment on my part,” he added. Besides the team too, sure; We are not where we wanted to be. We were hoping to be more competitive. »
For me, it’s just about my job, one session at a time, and one race at a time. That’s all I can do.
However, he claims to feel all the support of his team and that he has had “good meetings” with the leaders since the start of the season.
“I had issues on my end and we discussed how we could improve them,” he explains. There were a lot of difficult things on both sides: things that I need to do better and things that 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 first discipline of motorsports. When things don’t go his way, it’s sometimes easy to “indulge in disappointment or frustration,” he admits.
“But when things are going well, and when I’m not in that state of mind, I take a step back and say to myself: I’m living my dream, what I worked for for so many years. I have this feeling of gratitude for being in the situation I’m in.”
“I realize that I am where I wanted to be. It is important that you do it from time to time.”
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