F1: Latifi reveals extreme post Abu Dhabi safety measures
WHILE the FIA Investigation continues to proceed into the events surrounding the conclusion of the F1 2021 Season finale in Abu Dhabi, Williams driver Nicholas Latifi has revealed what precautions he had to take to ensure his personal safety.
Latifi, 26, has driven for Williams Racing since he made his racing debut in the sport back in 2020.
The Canadian was present at Williams' HQ today as the Grove squad unveiled their 2022 challenger before then getting behind the wheel of the FW44 during the shakedown test at the Silverstone circuit.
Speaking to the press, Latifi revealed that he had received mutiple death threats which prompted the Canadian to employ security protection staff.
During the title-deciding race last year, where Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton entered the race on equal points, Latifi crashed causing the deployment of the Safety Car.
The crash happened in the final corners of the lap and with no nearby place where the marshals and cranes could remove the damaged car, the full-course Safety Car was deployed. At this point in the race, Hamilton was comfortably leading and poised to take a record-breaking eighth Driver's title.
Red Bull took the opportunity to box Verstappen for new tyres while Hamilton stayed out on older rubber. The cars gathered behind the Safety Car until F1 Race Director Michael Masi instructed that the lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen would be moved out of the way so the race could be restarted with just one racing lap.
With fresher tyres, Verstappen went onto overtake Hamilton and therefore clinch the Championship in dramatic circumstances.
The decision by Masi has left a sour taste in many mouths of fans around the world and has sparked heated discussion. It has left many fans and pundits to brand the sport as 'entertainment' rather than a sport.
Many fans around the world have directly pointed the blame at Masi, but Latifi, who triggered the Safety Car by crashing, has received online abuse and a number of extreme death threats.
During the winter break, Latifi revealed today that he had hired personal security to accompany himself and his girlfriend Sandra Dziwiszek on a trip to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland.
Latifi said: “It sounds silly to some people, but again at the end of the day you don’t know how serious people are."
“All it takes is that one in a million person. It’s just an unfortunate part of the world we live in.”
Latifi also revealed that he had received a supportive message from Hamilton and Mercedes, among others, just a few days after the Abu Dhabi GP. The Canadian did not describe what the message was about but admitted it was a message of support.
He also went onto say that what has happened to him, and still continues to, isn't new and recalled a number of incidents, even outside of Motorsport, where athletes are targeted on social media.
“It’s an issue unfortunately we have in the world we have with social media. Social media brings a lot of good, gives people a lot of access to things that they wouldn’t normally be able to engage with."
Latifi heads into his third season of Formula One racing and will be partnered by Alexander Albon as both drivers hope to continue Williams' upward trajectory having finished eighth in the Constructor's Championship last season.