A Formula 1 fan has started a petition asking Williams to drop Nicholas Latifi in favour of Nyck de Vries for the remainder of the 2022 season.
Latifi has not had an easy time of it so far this year; he had been out-qualified 13 times in 15 races by team-mate Alex Albon and, while the Thai-Briton scored points three times, the 27-year-old is yet to manage a top 10 appearance.
It looked close in Silverstone after the Canadian made Q3 with a stunning wet qualifying performance, but Latifi has, unfortunately, struggled to find that kind of pace on a consistent basis.
De Vries partook in first practice at the Spanish Grand Prix with Williams, replacing Albon, and he went quicker than Latifi in that session, before earning a seat with Mercedes in France.
The Dutchman got to within half a second of team-mate George Russell at Paul Ricard, and his third outing arrived with Aston Martin, who ran him in place of Sebastian Vettel in Monza last weekend.
De Vries got through an aero testing programme on Friday, so he never really got to deliver the full performance of the AMR22, but little did the 2019 Formula 2 champion know that his chance to send it at the Temple of Speed was on its way.
The Mercedes reserve driver was called up to replace Albon after the 26-year-old came down with appendicitis on Friday night, so de Vries had to finish his coffee, run down to the Williams garage, put a race suit on, and head out for FP3.
He got to within a tenth of Latifi, who had been running with Williams all weekend, before out-qualifying the Canadian, who was knocked out in Q1.
De Vries made Q2, and may even have reached the final part of qualifying had it not been for an incorrect switch position that caused him to lock up on his final run.
13th in qualifying became eighth on the grid due to penalties for other drivers, and the 2021 Formula E champion scored two points on his debut by finishing ninth.
Latifi ended up in 15th in a disappointing weekend for him, and some fans have evidently had enough.
One fan created a petition asking for Williams to swap de Vries in for Latifi.
“Nicholas Latifi has consistently underperformed in a car that many teammates and, most recently, a reserve driver show is not as bad as it seems,” said Steven Vega, who started the petition.
“George Russell is now a high performing driver for one of the best teams on the grid, Alex Albon has outperformed Latifi every single race this season, and Nyck De Vries, with 24 hours’ notice, has outscored Latifi, completed more laps in the top 10 than Latifi in the entirety of the 2022 season, and has pushed Latifi into 21st place in a 20-driver competition.
“Nyck De Vries on the other hand has shown that he is a champion (Formula E and Formula 2), has been a reserve driver for quite some time, has been behind the wheel of the Aston Martin, Mercedes, and most recently, raced the 2022 Italian GP in the Williams.
“In his debut F1 race, he placed in 9th and shown he can attack, defend, and handle the pressure especially on such incredibly short notice. Nyck De Vries deserves to drive in F1, but more importantly, Nicholas Latifi deserves to sit out the remainder of the season.”
Latifi’s performances last season, particularly on Sundays, were occasionally better than those of the aforementioned George Russell.
The 27-year-old scored points in both Hungary and Belgium lats season, and while his performances of late in 2022 have been improving, de Vries’ display at the Italian Grand Prix puts Latifi’s place on the grid next year under serious threat.
The Canadian, who finished runner-up to de Vries in F2 in 2019, is out of contract at the end of the year, and he has both the former McLaren junior driver, and Logan Sargeant, who currently races in F2, breathing down his neck.