Williams driver Nicholas Latifi revealed that he has been forced to hire bodyguards following threats against his life.
The Canadian has had to bear with a constant barrage of abuse following his crash at the infamous Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
As things transpired that day, a late safety car was required following his collision at the end of the race. This has been seen by people as directly stripping Lewis Hamilton of a record 8th Formula 1 world championship.
Latifi has now spoken about the magnitude of abuse he has received from Hamilton fans. This forced his hand into hiring personal bodyguards when he went out with his model girlfriend Sandra Dziwiszek to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.
“It sounds silly to some people but at the end of the day, you don’t know how serious people are,” Latifi said, as reported by Sky Sports.
“All it needs is one drunk fan at an airport, or you bump into someone who is having a bad day and they are intoxicated under the influence of something and they have these really extreme opinions. It takes just that one-in-a-million person.
“I was back in London after the race, and I had security with me when I went to Winter Wonderland with my girlfriend.
“You have to take the threats seriously because you don’t know what might happen and it is just an unfortunate reality of the world we live in and there were extreme death threats which went way over the line.”
Latifi has received text from Hamilton
Latifi has received support from the likes of Hamilton, who sent him a text message offering comfort.
“Lewis did send me a message a few days after the race and just before I released the statement on social media.
“I will not go into what he said, but I got messages of support from other team members at Mercedes and there was an outcry of support from drivers and teams on social media, too, which was nice to see.”
Latifi will be partnered by London-born Thai Alexander Albon at Williams this season following George Russell’s departure to Mercedes.
The British team are heading into a new F1 season for the first time since its founder Sir Frank Williams died in November.