As confirmed earlier this year, Nicholas Latifi will not be retained by Williams for Formula 1 in 2023. With that comes the obvious rumors of the Canadian’s next move.
After an October 19th Sports Illustrated report “confirmed” Latifi for the fourth Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar seat for next season. The third-year F1 driver immediately played off the rumors by saying he is “still not committed to anything” as far as 2023 goes.
Was that a hard no? I don’t think so. So where might he end up?
Let’s start with the most prominent rumor regarding the Williams driver. Could he make the switch to IndyCar in the same manner Marcus Ericsson and Romain Grosjean have and find the same type of success?
If you base your answer on the two aforementioned drivers, the answer is an undeniable yes. Just look at Ericsson. He has picked up three wins in the past two seasons, including the highlight of his career so far – a win at this year’s Indianapolis 500.
Obviously, this isn’t the norm for former F1 drivers when they give IndyCar a shot. Grosjean has had more scattered success, but it can surely be called success. As for Latifi, it is easy to look through his three seasons in Formula 1 and blame his lackluster results as pure lack of skill. However, he was never given a competitive car by Williams to showcase any true skill.
The 27-year-old Canadian has had some flashes of brilliance along the way, including multiple points finishes in 2021, and wins in each of his three seasons in F2.
Without being too certain, Nicholas Latifi would enjoy a good amount of success if he were to make the switch to IndyCar. Whether that is for the 2023 season or in the future. There still remains a few open seats for next year’s grid, so don’t count anything out.
When asked about his alleged IndyCar contract, Latifi mentioned another option he has for the upcoming year – endurance racing. He went on to specify that he doesn’t have a single championship that he is eyeing, but rather talking to multiple teams across multiple championships and weighing his options.
Endurance racing, no matter what series, would be relatively new to Latifi. The 2019 F2 runner-up competed in select races of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge in 2012, 2014, and 2015, but with limited success.
While competing in American-based IMSA or European-based WEC would be a big difference from a career consisting of mostly single-seater competition, there have been other drivers who have made the same switch such as Pato O’Ward or Sebastian Bourdais.
Success is never guaranteed, but Latifi has F1-caliber talent. You have to imagine he would have a shot to snag a couple of podiums in endurance racing.
NASCAR or others?
With Trackhouse Racing’s “Project 91” which aims to put drivers from non-stock-car backgrounds into NASCAR Cup Series competition, you truly never know. Kimi Raikkonen tried it out earlier this season at Watkins Glen and had a good run until an incident took him out of contention. Latifi could potentially venture into the world of stock cars much like Daniil Kvyat has after his stint in F1.
You can also never discount a driver moving to a discipline like rally full-time. Raikkonen did so in 2010 and 2011 as he took a brief hiatus from Formula 1.
It’s a safe bet that Nicholas Latifi will be racing somewhere in the world in 2023. Wherever he goes, sponsorship from his father’s company, Sofina Foods, will be welcomed along with the 27-year-old.