Williams team principal Jost Capito has come to the defence of Nicholas Latifi after a troubled start to the 2022 campaign for the Canadian.
Latifi has suffered three significant crashes so far this season, with two of them coming in one weekend in Saudi Arabia, before a bizarre crash with Lance Stroll in qualifying in Australia proved symptomatic of a wretched run of form.
An issue in practice during the inaugural race in Miami will not have helped his acclimatisation to the 2022 car, but he qualified only marginally behind team-mate Alex Albon, before completing a clean Sunday.
However, he still ended up down in 14th while Albon grabbed his second points finish of the season, which will sadly only act to intensify the scrutiny around him.
Capito has allayed those concerns, highlighting the improved performance from the 27-year-old in Florida, and is adamant that he intends to respect the contracts of both his drivers.
“We have contracts with both of our drivers and we respect them,” he told Sport1.
“Nicholas was only slightly slower than Alex on Saturday. He just needs a little more time to get used to the new car.
“But he has our full support and for us there is currently no question of changing anything about our driver pairing over the course of the season.”
Rumours have linked both Alpine reserve Oscar Piastri and Mercedes stand-in Nyck de Vries to the Williams seat, but Latifi insisted recently that there is a mutual belief between him and Williams that he can turn his form around.
“You shouldn’t pay attention to everything that’s written about me,” he told journaldemontreal.com.
“And I’m not the only one experiencing the same treatment. However, I realise that my results aren’t satisfactory. I have to do more.
“It’s a matter of trust. I’m convinced that I can drive as fast as Alexander, whose learning time behind the wheel of the new car was shorter.”
Piastri won six races last year on his way to Formula 2 success, and is knocking on the door to get to Formula 1.
While giving no indication that Latifi will be out next season, Capito asserted his belief that the Australian will feature in the pinnacle of motorsport next year.
“I’m sure he’ll be in Formula 1 next season,” he said.
Latifi remains rooted to 21st and last in the Drivers’ Championship, behind Nico Hulkenberg who achieved a best result of P12 in Saudi Arabia when he stood in for the COVID-struck Sebastian Vettel.