Jost Capito believes the criticism and threats Nicholas Latifi faced after the Abu Dhabi crash in 2021 affected his driving. The Williams F1 driver had been the target of violent remarks and even death threats after causing the Safety Car which led to the error of the race direction in the awarding of the title.
The British team has done everything to support its driver, as manager Jost Capito explains. This reveals that his driver has retained a great lack of confidence, which he felt all winter and which he still had at the start of the year.
“We had to continue to give him confidence” Capito said.
« We told him that there was nothing wrong, that everything was fine, but it was very difficult to give him confidence because it was the end of the season, they all went on vacation. and said they had to take some time off. »
« So he wasn’t there every day and we didn’t interfere too much because we knew what was going on, we knew he cut off his social media, but if we had interfered too much I think we would have made it worse. It’s something that everyone has to overcome. »
« He knew perfectly well that he had our support, that we were absolutely convinced that he had done nothing wrong. The accident, of course, should not have happened, but if you race, you know accidents can happen. You never blame a driver for that, it’s possible to have an accident, otherwise you have to stay at home. »
An « extremely harsh » situation
Capito understands that this has affected Latifi to the point that he is losing his means at the wheel, while the driver has shown a drop in level this season against Alex Albon, his new teammate.
« It was extremely hard, I think it’s hard for absolutely everyone and I think anyone who hasn’t been through it has no idea what it feels like. Even if you cut off your social media , you’re in touch with other people who are still seeing what’s going on, and you can’t tear yourself away from that. »
« I think that’s also part of the reason why it took him a while in the season to find his competitiveness. I’m sure it affected his riding after that. »
« It would have affected my driving a lot, I absolutely believe that. So I can understand that and that’s why we gave him the confidence and supported him all season, and we knew he would come back. »