Williams driver Nicholas Latifi says that he has moved on from the backlash he received in the aftermath of his crash at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and is ready to switch his focus to the 2022 season.
The Canadian was the cause of the controversial Safety Car period late on in the title-decider at the Yas Marina Circuit, as he collided with the barrier and his car was stranded on the track.
Sir Lewis Hamilton had been leading title rival Max Verstappen by a comfortable margin up to that point, but the caution period allowed the Dutchman to pit for fresh rubber leaving five lapped cars between himself and the seven-time champion.
Karun Chandhok then theorised that a brake fire on the Williams elongated the Safety Car period further, leading race director Michael Masi to make the contentious decision to allow only five lapped cars to get their lap back ahead of the final tour of the race.
As a result, Verstappen was able to pass Hamilton to claim his maiden Formula 1 title in dramatic fashion.
For his part in the drama, Latifi received abhorrent abuse on social media – including death threats – leading him to release a statement detailing what he had been through since his crash.
“What shocked me was the extreme tone of the hate, abuse and even the death threats I received,” he said.
“Reflecting on what happened during the race, there was really only one group of people I needed to apologise to for the DNF – my team. I did that right afterwards.
“Everything else that followed was out of my control.”
Now, ahead of the new season, Latifi maintains that he is no longer thinking about the events of December’s curtain closer.
“I already feel it is kind of behind him,” he said in an interview with Sky Sports.
“It is in the past and obviously a very tricky few days with everything that was going on afterwards.”
In a damming indictment of the modern world of social media, the Canadian reveals he saw the hate coming, but he affirms that his attention has now been turned to what lies ahead.
“But you know, it is part of the sport, I was kind of what I was expecting it to happen,” he explained.
“I’m kind of past it now and for sure I guess once the season picks up and gives something new for people to talk about and focus on.
“It is long in the past for me now.”
Latifi will be joined by former Red Bull driver Alex Albon for the new season, with the Thai-Brit replacing Mercedes-bound George Russell.
The British team are yet to announce an official release date for their 2022 car.