Williams has parted company with Dan Ticktum with immediate effect, with the news revealed shortly after it emerged he had mocked the team’s Formula 1 driver Nicholas Latifi.
Ticktum joined the Williams junior programme last year and continued with his role, which included simulator duties, alongside his second season racing in Formula 2 this year with Carlin.
The 22-year-old is fourth in the F2 standings with one win.
Ticktum’s departure has not been accompanied by an official statement from Williams or an explanation for the instant split, but it is understood to have happened last week prior to Ticktum criticising Latifi online – a timeline that Ticktum has also suggested in a short statement on Instagram saying he was released “before the recent Latifi incident”. The Race has contacted Williams for comment.
“It wasn’t announced until now as there was no option for an F1 seat in 2022 for me,” Ticktum added in his post.
“Thank you to Williams Racing for the opportunity! Hope to work together in the future!”
Video from a recent Ticktum gaming stream showed him singing that Williams F1 driver Nicholas Latifi “is poo” to the tune of the Scooby-Doo theme song.
In the same stream, Ticktum appeared to justify criticism of Latifi – who subsequently scored his first F1 points and Williams’s best result since 2017 with seventh in last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix – by saying he “paid to get there”.
Ticktum then appeared to block the user who had prompted that response, before going on to state: “It’s not like divisions, it’s not like League One and the Premier League [in the English football pyramid]. That’s now how it works. You come up through the ranks.
“Just because you don’t get to F1 in motorsport doesn’t mean you weren’t good enough to get there.”
Latifi brings significant funding to Williams but did also step into F1 after finishing runner-up in F2, and has been praised by the team and team-mate George Russell for his progress in the last 18 months.
His result in Hungary strengthens Latifi’s claim to staying at Williams in 2022, while Ticktum’s Williams split is almost certainly the end of his faint hopes of an F1 move, given he recently admitted the team was his only hope of getting a place on the grid.
The Race Says
In the past I’ve not defended Ticktum as such but I have called for criticism to be balanced and justified, and tried to give him the patience that any young person who makes a mistake deserves.
Unfortunately he has become someone who is increasingly difficult to sympathise with and there is little context that could make me side with him now.
Red Bull is notoriously ruthless but Ticktum’s previous transgressions went beyond not being good enough. He was a problem.
The first time we saw how badly that could manifest itself was in 2015 when he earned a race ban. Read on for more detail but at the time the UK’s governing body called it “a dangerous and disturbing episode”.
That was fully justified. But he deserved a second chance, and got one. Sadly Ticktum didn’t take it properly. Still people were inclined to give him chances. Now, in an F1 context, he has surely run out.
When a team like Williams severs the cord with immediate effect mid-season, it’s surely about more than just ‘there’s no seat available next season’. I suspect Ticktum’s burned his last F1 bridge. His conduct since the split, with the Latifi mockery, will only underline that.
Prior to his Williams role, Ticktum was twice a member of the Red Bull driver scheme with different degrees of support.
His first stint ended prematurely when, towards the end of his first year in car racing, Ticktum was banned for a year for overtaking several competitors under a safety car in MSA Formula (now British Formula 4) to crash into rival Ricky Collard, who he had collided with on the first lap.
After his return to racing at the end of the following year, Ticktum had a tricky 2017 in the Formula Renault Eurocup but won the end-of-season Formula 3 showpiece in Macau.
That earned him a full Red Bull Junior Team place for 2018 and while he repeated his Macau Grand Prix win he was defeated in European Formula 3 by Mick Schumacher, who Ticktum criticised and claimed received preferential treatment because he was the son of seven-time F1 champion Michael.
After testing for Red Bull’s F1 team, Ticktum split with the company again a few months into 2019 after courting controversy while racing in Japan’s Super Formula series.
He returned to Europe in sporadic appearances before stepping up to F2 in 2020, when he became a race winner but had an underwhelming season and was 11th in the standings with DAMS.
The switch to Carlin brought better form and a title challenge so far.