Nicholas Latifi reportedly stands to lose his seat at Williams amid the rumour that there is about to be a swap between two drivers in Formula 1.
Latifi has had a difficult start to the 2022 season, crashing out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix having already put the car in the wall during qualifying, before colliding with Lance Stroll during the Australian Grand Prix weekend when the two Canadians were on slow laps.
He suffered a further spin during qualifying for the sprint race in Imola, before setting a lap time three seconds adrift of the requisite to make it into Q2.
There is a case to say that a feeling of resentment of his mistakes could be brewing at the factory in Grove, particularly since the 27-year-old’s adventures will have eaten into the precious $140 million budget this year, and speculation has arisen from journalist Albert Fabrega that one of the drivers on the current grid is about to be replaced.
“There is already movement in the market. Things are happening but I cannot say because they have told me not to say anything,” he said during a livestream, before confirming that the alteration involved a swap “between two teams.”
One of the names being thrown into the conversation is that of Oscar Piatri, who is currently Alpine’s test and reserve driver.
The Australian was linked with the McLaren seat when Daniel Ricciardo was in danger of missing the opening round of the season in Bahrain, and the French outfit confirmed that they would be happy to loan him out.
“In the spirit of offering maximum racing opportunities to our stable of young talent, we have agreed that McLaren may call upon BWT Alpine F1 Team Reserve Driver Oscar Piastri in the event one of their drivers is unable to race,” they stated.
Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz weighed in on the situation at Williams, and he has an inclination that Piastri may be headed there to replace Latifi.
“One of the latest paddock rumours has Williams interested in the services of Oscar Piastri,” he said after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which Latifi finished in 16th posiiton behind Zhou Guanyu.
However, the Briton believes that this switch will not happen in 2022, affirming that the Williams team are happy with their current pairing of Latifi and Alex Albon.
“This is for next year. I know I said [recently] you might see Oscar Piastri potentially at Aston Martin, but it seems I was wrong about that and actually Oscar Piastri/Alpine are looking at Williams potentially as a place for him next year,” he explained.
“I don’t know if that will be in place of Alex Albon or Nicholas Latifi as both are very happy and ensconced within this team at Williams, but it’s one to look out for later in the season.”
Latifi sits 21st in the Drivers’ Championship after four rounds of the season, with Albon in 17th after his exquisite performance in Melbourne earned him a point.