Nicholas Latifi says his next move after Formula 1 has yet to be finalized but that IndyCar is the obvious direction for his career to head in, and that he would want to compete in all races if he did so.
The Williams driver will leave F1 at the end of this season after three tough years with an uncompetitive team. Latifi has scored nine points so far — seven last season and two this — but will be replaced by Logan Sargeant in 2023 and is not remaining in F1. While he doesn’t see himself as a reserve driver long-term, the Canadian admits IndyCar is the standout category to target but insists he has no firm plans in place yet.
“At the moment I’m keeping all the options and evaluating all the options in that sense,” Latifi told F1’s “Beyond the Grid” podcast. “It’s clear that the most obvious route — or what seems like the most obvious route to most fans and people from the outside — is making the switch to IndyCar. It’s still formula cars, it’s extremely top-level racing, it’s a very exciting series.
“I can say personally it’s the series I enjoy watching the most outside of F1 — when I have an off weekend from F1 I enjoy watching the IndyCar races. It’s obviously very exciting, close racing; it’s spec racing like a more advanced Formula 2 championship. But there’s also other avenues as well.
“I haven’t committed to anything. If I’m going off a few reports from a week or so ago I’m already committed and signed a deal and that’s what I’m dong, but that’s not the case!
“It was actually quite funny in Austin, so many people who are fans were like, ‘Congrats on the IndyCar deal!’ and it was all just in walking and passing (by), so at some stage I’m not going to say ‘Oh it’s not true’ to everybody because I can’t really be bothered, it was coming up so much! I haven’t decided on anything yet — there’s options in different categories.”
Should Latifi make the switch to the NTT IndyCar Series, the 27-year-old says he would want to race on ovals to compete for the entire season and give himself the best chance of success.
“Being a formula car driver racing in Europe, you get molded to the opinion that formula car racing on ovals is dangerous, and for sure it is more dangerous than racing on street tracks or road tracks, let’s say. If I was to do ovals I would be aware that this is obviously more dangerous — there have been some very high-profile incidents but in recent years the cars have taken massive steps in safety as they always do, just like Formula 1 does.
“If I was to do IndyCar, I would want to do the ovals because I wouldn’t want to take myself out of potential championship points. Especially if I was to do it for multiple years, if I didn’t do ovals the first year then the second year I would be doing them I would be having to learn and get on top of it. Arguably when you’re in more of a position to fight for podiums and wins and championships, you’re still at a disadvantage for quite a few races.
“I did have the opinion at some point that they are very dangerous and unsafe. In recent years less so, but it’s definitely something I would want to do. I think there’s only four races now that are ovals, but I’d definitely want to do all the races.”