Rumoured Latifi replacement fires shot at him and Stroll over pay driver status

Oscar Piastri may be in line to replace Nicholas Latifi at Williams next year.

Prospective Williams driver Oscar Piastri sees it as a “moral” obligation to try and get to Formula 1 on his own, without the need for a cash injection from his father.

Current Williams driver Nicholas Latifi brings in a lot of money for the Williams team to drive for them, but he is in danger of being dropped for next season due to his thus far underwhelming performance thus far in 2022.

He is one of two full-time drivers this year – the other being Haas’ Mick Schumacher – to fail to score points in 2022 – although his performances in Spain and Monaco presented a glimmer of hope that he was beginning to get a handle of the car.

READ: Wolff reveals if Mercedes will ditch ‘narrow sidepods’ while Verstappen dismisses number one driver suggestion

Latifi’s form in the other six races, however, in which he has been out-performed by Alex Albon, has led to speculation that he may be replaced when his contract expires at the end of this season, and Alpine reserve Piastri now looks the most likely to do so.

The young Australian has always shown prodigious talent in the junior ranks, and he burst onto the scene in 2014 when he finished second in his debut British Formula 4 Championship season with six wins.

In 2019, 2020 and 2021, he won a total of 15 races as he won the Formula Renault Eurocup, the Formula 3 and Formula 3 Championships on the spin.

However, regulations prevent drivers from re-entering junior series they have already won, and Piastri missed out on an F1 seat after Alfa Romeo chose to sign Zhou Guanyu.

The Chinese rookie finished third in F2 last year, so he himself has proven his worth in the junior categories, but it is also not a secret that he too brings in a fair amount of funding.

Article continues below

It all means that Piastri has had to sit out this year and, as Alpine endeavour to find him a drive for 2023, he refuses to buy his way into an F1 team, because he is set on doing things the right way.

“I said from the beginning to myself, if I get into F1, I’m going to get there because I deserve to be there and not because my dad bought me a seat, because that defeats the purpose in my eyes of being a professional racing driver because you’re not a professional if that’s the case,” he explained.

READ: Horner praises Vettel as he makes tongue in cheek comment about ‘Green Red Bull’

“For me, morally, that was quite a major thing. And secondly, we don’t have the funding to do that. I’m not saying that we’re, you know, struggling or anything like that. 

“My junior career has been more than expensive.

“My junior career, you know, cost more than what I guess some people outside of motorsport can only dream of in some cases.

“So, I’m already aware of how much money’s already been spent on me firstly by my family, as number one, Alpine as well, as various sponsors.

“So yeah, firstly, I don’t want to get to F1 because somebody has paid for me to be there, certainly my family anyway. 

“I don’t think that’s right or fair on them. And second, even if I was OK with that, we wouldn’t be able to do it.”

With Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon likely remaining at Alpine next season, the French side will be keen to give Piastri some experience, almost certainly making him a front-runner for the Williams seat next year should Latifi be dropped.