F1 News

De Vries and Sargeant not the only candidates to succeed Latifi

De Vries and Sargeant not the only candidates to succeed Latifi

23-09-2022 11:06


Williams has said goodbye to Nicholas Latifi and now the question is who will be his successor. It seems to be a choice between Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant, or are there other hijackers on the coast?

Latifi to leave

Latifi's departure is no surprise. Ever since his debut in F1, his seat has been gnawed at. As a 'pay-driver', he never managed to convince on the track and now that Williams is owned by Dorilton Capital, his father's money is also less needed. The decision to part ways with him is therefore not surprising given his achievements.

Two names are most commonly associated with this seat. Nyck de Vries is the first candidate. The Dutchman was already on the list to replace George Russell last year, but then Alexander Albon was put forward by Red Bull at the last minute. Williams changed course and decided to recruit the Thai.

However, with Latifi's departure, De Vries comes back into the picture. The Dutchman impressed with his free practice sessions for Williams, Mercedes and Aston Martin, but he made the most impression during his F1 debut as Albon's substitute at Monza. There, he beat Latifi in qualifying and the race and also scored two points for the team immediately.

More options for De Vries

So it seems a logical continuation if De Vries gets Latifi's seat, but the top performance in Monza has not gone unnoticed by teams with a better car. AlphaTauri now seems to be the favourite for De Vries' services. The Dutchman previously acknowledged that he had spoken to Helmut Marko and De Vries would serve as Pierre Gasly's replacement at Red Bull's sister team. In all likelihood, the Frenchman will leave for Alpine.

Although De Vries is also mentioned at Alpine, everything now points to Gasly driving for the French racing stable and De Vries for AlphaTauri in 2023. It means Williams will have to go back to the drawing board. Sargeant seems the most logical alternative. The American is part of the Williams Academy and his current third place in the F2 championship would also earn him a super licence.

American in F1

If Williams goes for Sargeant, it will have to wait a little longer for the 21-year-old driver to officially get his superlicence. For that, he needs at least a top-five finish and that is not officially in yet. With only the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend left on the schedule, there is still a maximum of 39 points to be earned and so even the number 11 in the standings, Dennis Hauger, could in theory still pass the American.

Williams, in choosing Sargeant, could therefore only announce the new line-up for 2023 after the last Grand Prix. Sargeant impressed this year with two wins in the main races in Austria and England, but has not been on the podium since. So there are also doubts about Sargeant.

Those doubts could also tempt Williams to take on another driver. Indeed, the team has now seen that experienced, consistently performing drivers can ensure that points do get scored. Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo and Antonio Giovinazzi are safer options than Sargeant in that respect. However, those three drivers are also on Haas' list and, in the case of Ricciardo, the question is whether he wants to join a team in the rear.

So it is not a simple choice between Sargeant and De Vries. Williams now seems to be moving in Sargeant's direction, but its mandatory thinking time could also mean that there won't be a first American F1 driver since Alexander Rossi in 2015 after all. Indeed, there are more interesting names on the market.