Williams announced Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi as their drivers for the 2022 F1 season, with the Thai returning to the sport.
After speculations rose for Albon in the last few weeks, the news has been officially confirmed by Williams ahead of the F1 Italian GP, with the Thai joining the Grove-based outfit for the 2022 season alongside Latifi, who stays on for another season.
Albon faced a fight from Nyck de Vries, who seemed firm at one point, but Williams opted for F1 experience for Thai. The announced deal seems to be for 2022, but there could be an option for extending as most of the contracts is.
The return for Albon comes after spending two seasons between AlphaTauri and Red Bull. He was dropped to make for Sergio Perez in the senior F1 outfit, and retained as a reserve, while also racing in DTM for AF Corse under AlphaTauri/Red Bull branding.
“I am really excited and looking forward to returning to a Formula One race seat in 2022,” said Albon. “When you take a year out of F1 it’s never certain you will make a return so I’m extremely thankful to Red Bull and Williams for believing in me and helping me on my journey back to the grid.
“It’s also been great to see all the progress Williams have been making as a team this year and I look forward to helping them continue that journey in 2022. My focus now returns to my Test & Reserve Driver role at Red Bull and helping the team fight for this year’s world championship.”
Meanwhile, Latifi, stated: “I’m excited to be continuing with Williams for another year; partly because of F1’s new technical regulations, but also because the team is moving in a more competitive direction with new owners, management and people on the technical side.
“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 aim is to continue making little improvements so we can all take advantage of the opportunity we have next year. I’m super excited to work with next year’s car and it’s like a fresh start for everybody. I feel privileged to be part of that change.”
Team boss, Jost Capito, added: “It is fantastic to be able to confirm our driver line-up for 2022 and I am delighted to be welcoming Alex to the team, along with confirming our continued relationship with Nicholas into next year. We are extremely excited by our new line-up, with both drivers bringing a great blend of youth and experience that will not only be a great fit for the team but also help us take the next step in our journey.
“Alex is one of the most exciting young talents in motorsport, yet comes with a large amount of F1 experience from his time at Red Bull. His multiple podium finishes highlight his speed as a driver, and we know he will immediately feel at home with the team at Grove.
“Nicholas meanwhile has consistently impressed us over the past three years with his hard work, diligence, and positive attitude. He has continued to develop throughout his time at Williams and has grown into an impressive F1 driver, as seen by his points scoring finishes this season. We are now looking forward to continuing to build on our positive momentum as a team and finishing this season as strongly as possible, before turning our attentions to 2022.”
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