Williams team boss Jost Capito says social media reactions that Nicholas Latifi received after his 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix crash, had negatively impacted his 2022 performance.
Nicholas Latifi’s crash at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix started a chain of events that culminated with race director (at the time) Michael Masi’s breaking of the rules which govern the use of the Safety Car. This basically prevented Lewis Hamilton from winning his eighth F1 championship, and gifted the world title to Max Verstappen.
Latifi later revealed he received social media abuse and death threats following the incident, even saying that he had to hire armed security guards.
Now, six races before the end of the 2022 season, Latifi is the only driver who is yet to score any points.
Williams team boss Jost Capito says the reactions the Canadian driver received after Abu Dhabi have negatively impacted his performance.
“We had to keep giving him the confidence,” Capito said on the High Performance Podcast
“We said that there was nothing wrong, everything was fine, but it was very difficult up until then because it was the end of the season.
“He was not around here every single day and also we didn’t interfere too much as we knew what was happening, we knew what was going on.
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“He switched his social media off but if we would have interfered too much, I think we would have made the situation worse.
“That’s something everybody has to get over on their own. He was fully aware that he had our backing, that we were absolutely convinced he didn’t do anything wrong.
“The crash, of course, it shouldn’t have happened but if you’re racing then crashes can happen.
“And we never blame a driver for that, it’s possible to crash. Otherwise, you have to stay at home if you don’t want to crash.
“I think that was also a part of why it took him quite a while in the season to find his competitiveness.
“I’m sure it affected his driving after that. It would have affected my driving a lot, I am absolutely convinced of this.
“So, I can understand that and this is why we gave him the confidence and supported him all season and we knew he would come back,” the German concluded.