Who is Latifi, the “paying driver” who decided the Verstappen-Hamilton challenge

Canadian with a mother of Italian origins, son of a food magnate, he earned F1 thanks to a second place in F2 in 2019 and a millionaire “dowry” proposed to Williams in 2020

It ended, as often happens in these cases, with a curious mix of insults and thanks on Instagram. What was not predictable, on the eve of the Abu Dhabi GP that decided the dispute between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, was that it was he, a bottom group carneade, the tip of the balance in the most exciting and hard-fought challenge in history. racing. In the end, Nicholas Latifi even had to delete his last post, the one under which the supporters of the two factions had gathered in a sort of aggressive and controversial third half, and which had easily exceeded 20,000 comments in a few hours.

f1 2021, la safety car decisiva

Nothing new under the sun, because the contact with the barriers on lap 53 of the 58 scheduled for the memorable evening of Yas Marina, involuntarily but irremediably marked the fate of the championship. Which, after an exciting game, nine months long and 22 GPs, despite a result that seemed to have been achieved, suddenly overturned with the entry of the Safety Car: that’s where Max, at that moment more than 11 seconds from Lewis was able to change tires by counting on the neutralization of the gaps to build that final offensive that made his dreams come true. The first title on the last lap, in a film script that finds the unwitting director in Latifi.

the empire of the latifiers

Of course it is no coincidence that the first to compliment – perhaps giving the green light to the serial commentators of the web – was the boss of Red Bull, Christian Horner, who joked in front of the TVs promising Latifi a lifetime supply of energy drinks. Not that the twenty-six-year-old Williams driver, in hindsight, really needs it: Nicholas is in fact the son of Michael Latifi, a Canadian billionaire of Iranian origins who, in addition to being a McLaren shareholder, is at the helm of the Sofina Foods empire, which produces food products and imports a large number of brands linked to the tradition of good food into North America (including Lavazza, Rio Mare, San Daniele and San Benedetto); the mother, Marilena Russo, has instead origins in Palermo and is related to the famous Italian-Canadian entrepreneurs of the Saputo family (Joey is at the helm of Bologna Calcio).

latifi pay driver?

The promise of a lifetime supply from Red Bull was the most flattering post-race comment, however, as most of Hamilton’s supporters hit the “paying driver” button. Indeed, with such a family heritage, it is not wrong to say that Nicholas Latifi has had the road to F1, despite not always excellent results in the minor categories. At his debut in a single-seater in 2012, the Canadian closed the Italian F3 championship in seventh place, then collecting a fifteenth and tenth place in Euro Formula 3 respectively in 2013 and 2014.

between f2 and formula 1

The following year there is the debut in Formula 2, the antechamber of the circus of dreams: it is here that, in 2019, in the fifth year among the cadets, Latifi will center the second place behind Nyck DeVries, today world champion in Formula E. It is the best result of Nicholas’ career, who at that point will have the necessary Super license for his debut in Formula 1: it is 2020 when, together with his father Michael, Latifi will arrive at Williams with a suitcase full of millions , a boon for a team in financial difficulties for years. He will close the season at zero, without ever beating his teammate Russell in qualifying, before returning with more experience in 2021. He will finish seventeenth, with 7 points to his credit. And with an involuntarily central role in awarding the most daring World Cup in history.

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Who is Latifi, the “paying driver” who decided the Verstappen-Hamilton challenge