Williams’ Nicholas Latifi says he feels like a “rookie and a half” heading into his second Formula 1 season after missing out on visits to a number of regular circuits in 2020.
Last year’s campaign saw 13 grands prix cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing F1 to make adjustments that included hosting two races at one venue and striking one-off deals with various tracks around Europe.
With the pandemic still raging in many parts of the world, Australia and China have already announced the postponement of their 2021 events, meaning Bahrain will open the new season in March and motorsport betting odds sites like Betway expect further calendar changes.
Latifi, who missed out on getting up to speed at certain circuits in the Americas and Asia in 2020, states potentially experiencing them for the first time this year makes him feel as though he’s a newcomer to the sport.
“I’m looking forward not being a rookie anymore and having that sense of feeling more confident, more prepared and knowing what to expect – rather than discovering new things or experiences for the first time, like you do in your first season of F1,” Latifi wrote in a blog post for his website.
“In some ways though, I feel I’ll be a rookie and a half, because I consider part of the F1 rookie experience to be learning all the new tracks you haven’t raced in previous years.
“Coming from F2, that’s tracks like Singapore, China, Suzuka and the ones in the Americas. Last year I missed a lot of the tracks that are normally on the calendar, so I’ll be experiencing them for the first time.”
Latifi failed to score points throughout the 17-race calendar last year, as Williams continued to languish towards the rear of the F1 grid, and Betway expects more of the same from the Grove outfit in ’21.
Ahead of his sophomore year, Latifi aims to step up to “the next level” and build upon the foundations he set in 2020.
“Generally, I’m feeling excited and motivated to build on last year’s foundations,” he said.
“There are things I know I need to improve, and even areas when I know I’m strong I still want to take up to the next level. 2020 was a massive learning year.
“The plan for 2021 is to start where I left off, keep taking steps forward, and be able to look back on a stronger season come December.”