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Who will replace Latifi? The runners and riders in contention for the Williams seat – Formula 1

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F1 Correspondent & Presenter
Lawrence Barretto
26 September 2022
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Nicholas Latifi will say goodbye to Williams at the end of this season after three years with the famous British team – and that creates an opening alongside Alex Albon for 2023. F1 Correspondent Lawrence Barretto assesses the options available to team boss Jost Capito as he ponders his line up for next year…
Top of the list is Nyck de Vries, who became one of Formula 1’s best ever super-subs when he was drafted in as a late replacement for Albon at Monza and went on to score points on what was an extremely impressive F1 debut.
The team already rated him highly, having seen him at work during his FP1 appearance in Barcelona this year – and his attitude, immediate speed, and smart approach to qualifying and the race in Italy only enhanced that view.
READ MORE: ‘I grabbed my opportunity with both hands!’ – De Vries discusses 2023 prospects after stunning F1 debut
Williams want him next year – but they face competition from Alpine and AlphaTauri. If they can convince the Dutchman to sign on the dotted line, they will have a very exciting line-up for 2023 and possibly beyond.
If they decide to look in-house, Williams have some very fast drivers on their books already. The most experienced of their academy racers is Logan Sargeant, currently third in the F2 championship with just one round to go.
The American has impressed in his first full season in the feeder series and Williams want to get in a position where they are able to promote their academy drivers to F1.
READ MORE: Williams boss Capito ‘absolutely convinced’ rising F2 star Logan Sargeant will make it to F1
Sources say Team Principal Jost Capito is convinced he can be ready to step up to F1 next year if required (and providing he stays in the top five in the F2 standings to secure enough super licence points) – though he could benefit from a second campaign in F2 to strengthen his skillset before making the move up to F1.
De Vries and Sargeant sit in the top two spots on Williams’ wish list, but there are a few other options out there.
After spending a year in Formula E, Ferrari-backed Antonio Giovinazzi is available and on the hunt for a return to Formula 1.
READ MORE: Giovinazzi on his 3 years in F1 – and why he’s convinced he hasn’t raced his final Grand Prix
Haas are believed to be interested in recruiting the Italian, who has 62 Grand Prix starts under his belt and career points tally of 21, but the former Alfa Romeo driver could be of interest to Williams too if they decide experience is what’s needed next year.
Another driver potentially on the market is Mick Schumacher. The German’s deal with Haas expires at the end of the season and it is believed the American team are leaning towards not retaining him for a third season.
READ MORE: Ferrari boss Binotto set for talks with Schumacher over his F1 future
In Schumacher, Williams would get a driver who brings a star-quality name and glimpses of potential but has struggled to consistently shine, and has failed to outperform his team mate Kevin Magnussen.
Of these four options, Schumacher is the least likely to race in blue next season.
Now, you’re probably thinking, ‘How can he have written about two experienced drivers in the running and neither of them be Daniel Ricciardo?’
Well, it’s true that Ricciardo has enjoyed plenty of success in Formula 1, winning eight races and scoring 32 podiums – and is available after it was announced in August that he would be leaving McLaren at the end of this season, a year earlier than planned.
However, it’s understood that rather than taking on a medium to long-term project like Williams, he’s leaning towards taking a sabbatical next year and seeing what top drives are available in 2024.
READ MORE: Ricciardo ‘assessing everything’ for the future as Hamilton says he’s ‘far too talented’ to not be racing
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