Williams have completed their driver line-up for 2022, as Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi will once again be teammates in motorsport. The duo paired up to race for DAMS in F2 in 2018.
Alex Albon returns to Formula 1 after a year in reserve. Red Bull promoted the Thai-British driver halfway through the 2019 season. He replaced Pierre Gasly who went the other way to sister team Toro Rosso (now Alpha Tauri).
It didn’t go to plan for Albon as Sergio Perez replaced him at Red Bull at the end of the 2020 season after only scoring the two podiums. Albon remained at Red Bull for the 2021 season, but only in a test/reserve role. He infamously got behind the wheel of a Red Bull at Silverstone earlier this year. Christian Horner wanted him to recreate Lewis Hamilton’s line and track position in a desperate attempt to collect data. This was to try and get further punishment for the Mercedes man. Hamilton received a ten-second penalty after colliding with Max Vertsappen, going on to win the race while the Dutchman had to retire on lap one.
Red Bull boss Horner announced at the Dutch GP that Alfa Romeo and Williams had shown interest in Albon. So it’s no surprise he is back on the grid for next season. Horner had previously accused Toto Wolff of blocking Albon’s return. Williams have a Mercedes engine, this lead to rumours that Toto Wolff wanted a driver from the Mercedes academy to take the seat, although denied this. Quite an ironic claim given it was Horner who demoted Albon 12 months ago!
Twenty-five-year-old Albon spoke to the Williams website after the announcement: “I am really excited and looking forward to returning to a Formula One race seat in 2022. When you take a year out of F1 it’s never certain you will make a return.”
Jost Capito has also retained Nicholas Latifi for 2022. The Canadian has impressed in recent weeks, scoring his first points for the team at Hungary. He then followed that up with points at Spa the following race.
Latifi had the following to say after the announcement: “I’m excited to be continuing with Williams for another year.” Later adding: I’ve felt at home here since the day I arrived and I think I’m in the right place to continue with my positive trajectory.”
The Williams boss was ecstatic to get the deals over the line, saying: “It is fantastic to be able to confirm our driver line-up for 2022. I am delighted to be welcoming Alex to the team, along with confirming our continued relationship with Nicholas.”
What does this mean for the rest of the grid?
Only four seats are now up for grabs next season. Aston Martin have not made an official announcement yet, but Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel will probably remain. Alfa Romeo have to decide whether they stick or twist with Antonio Giovinazzi. Mick Schumacher is expected to keep his seat as Nikita Mazepin’s team mate with Haas. The 2022 season is already gearing up to be one to remember!
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