Following the announcement yesterday of George Russell’s move to Mercedes for the 2022 season, Williams has become the latest team to confirm their driver line-up for next year.
Canadian Nicholas Latifi brings continuity in 2022 after Russell’s departure. The 26-year-old scored his first F1 points at the Hungarian Grand Prix and backed that up with another one in Belgium.
He’ll be joined next year by Alex Albon. The Thai driver is a two-time podium finisher in F1 after stepping on the rostrum twice in 2020. After losing out on the second seat to Perez for 2021 at Red Bull, he’s spent this year in DTM. However, the Red Bull-backed driver makes his return to the grid next season.
The pair have already worked together as they were teammates at DAMS in Formula 2 three years ago.
"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."
"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."
"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 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."
I can’t tell you how good it feels to say.. I’m joining @WilliamsRacing for 2022!! The most sincere thank you to Jost and everyone at Williams for trusting me with this opportunity and of course @redbullracing especially Christian and Dr. Marko for making this possible. pic.twitter.com/c0NhSQLd0L— Alex Albon (@alex_albon) September 8, 2021
“We rate Alex very highly and with our line-up for 2022 fixed, our objective was to help find him a seat in another team where he could gain more F1 mileage and experience and we are delighted to have done that with Williams Racing. Alex has been a hugely valuable asset in his role as our Test & Reserve Driver this year, helping bring performance from the simulator to the car each weekend, but for his career it was important not to spend another season out of an F1 race seat. With his place on the grid next year secured, we are delighted to see him realise this opportunity and we will be following his progress closely.”