Williams CEO and team principal Jost Capito has stressed its new Formula 1 driver line-up Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi will have equal status next year.

Albon is returning to the F1 grid after being offered a full-time race seat by Williams for next season, having spent 2021 on the sidelines as Red Bull’s reserve driver.

The Anglo-Thai racer links up with former Formula 2 team-mate Latifi, with the pair previously partnering each other at DAMS in 2018.

Williams comes off the back of an eighth place finish in the constructors’ championship, the team’s best since 2017 following three consecutive years propping up the standings.

But while Capito sees Albon’s arrival as plus for the team, he is clear neither of its drivers will be ranked number one next year.

“Of course, it’s good for both,” said Capito, as quoted by Motorsport.com. “I think for Alex, it’s great to have this second chance to come back and lead the team to move forward.

“He doesn’t come in and say, ‘Okay, I want to win races.’ It is clear that he has to develop the team together with Nicky and us and all the engineers and everybody in Grove. And he seems to enjoy this role. He works very well with Nicky.

“We don’t have a number one and number two, they are both treated exactly the same. And Nicky can put his mark, there is no doubt.”

Capito felt Latifi did a “brilliant job” up against former driver George Russell, who is Mercedes bound for 2022, believing he improved greatly in his sophomore year.

“Nicky has done a good job this year as well, when you look at all the qualifying results, some do not show that he had been in the position that he could have outqualified George, but situations where he was not in charge,” Capito said.

“And when when you see the gaps, they were never really big. And of course, it’s a big challenge to be the team mate of George. He did really well, and he improved a lot through this season.

“So I’m sure he can still improve, because it was just his second season. And the first season last year was a really strange season with COVID.

“And a lot of new circuits again this year, it was difficult for him again, and he did a brilliant job based on that.”

Capito believes Albon and Latifi’s relationship from their F2 days will work in Williams’ favour, expecting Albon to fit in well in his new surroundings.

“Alex and Nicky raced together as teammates in 2018. So they know each other, they respect each other highly,” Capito added.

“George and Alex are personal friends. I think Alex is the perfect fit for the team at the situation where the team is now.

“For Alex I think it’s a great second chance. And I’m sure he fits well in our environment. And we will have a lot of fun with him, and him he with us as well. And I’m sure he will perform very well.”