James Vowles delivers Mick Schumacher blow after link to Williams seat

Jamie Woodhouse
Logan Sargeant, Williams, in the garage. November 2022. Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Logan Sargeant, Williams, during FP1. November 2022. Sao Paulo, Brazil.

While Williams boss James Vowles wants to see more consistency from Logan Sargeant, he expects that improvement to come, which would spell trouble for Mick Schumacher who has been linked with his seat.

Sargeant is now five rounds into his rookie season in Formula 1, the American racer having stepped up to take Nicholas Latifi’s seat at Williams as a graduate of the team’s academy.

His campaign got off to a strong start in Bahrain, though recent rounds have brought about some shaky moments, including colliding with Nyck de Vries late in the Australian GP, before crashing out of the Sprint Shootout qualifying session in Baku, which meant he missed the sprint race.

Rookie mistakes are always going to happen, though there was a potential extra layer of pressure added when a report from Sport1 claimed that Mercedes principal Toto Wolff, who worked with Vowles when he was the team’s chief strategist, is eyeing up Sargeant’s seat for Mick Schumacher.

After two turbulent campaigns with Haas, Schumacher was let go by the team at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign, going on to join Mercedes as their reserve driver for the 2023 campaign.

But if Wolff is trying to turn to an old friend to get Schumacher back on the grid, then Vowles’ comments do not suggest that he is losing patience with Sargeant. He described the American rookie as “fast” and encouraged him now to start driving “clean” as he gains experience.

Vowles also pointed out that even though Sargeant was the slowest driver in Miami qualifying, his deficit to experienced team-mate Alex Albon was only three-tenths of a second, Albon having already delivered some very impressive displays for the team so far in F1 2023.

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“Logan is here because he is fast, and he is fast,” Vowles told Motorsport.com. “But he needs to get everything under control and drive clean.

“In both qualifying sessions in Baku, he reached Q2. That’s consistency, that’s what you need. I have already explained to him that he is fast enough. He needs to use Q2 to double his experience.

“That’s also what you’ll see in the coming time, that he gets a bit better and better.

“I don’t expect him to match Alex’s pace. Besides, he’s had a series of circuits he’s never been to. But even as disappointed as he was [in Miami], there was only three-tenths between him and Alex. It happened to be a difference of seven positions then. But three-tenths, that’s how close it is now.”

Sargeant does nonetheless need to build-up some positive momentum once more, and his next opportunity to do so will come at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, that a circuit which he has experienced before during his 2022 Formula 2 campaign.