Burning Logan Sargeant contract question posed after Williams make ‘wrong move’ in Australia

Jamie Woodhouse
Logan Sargeant's Williams garage sits empty at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Logan Sargeant's Williams garage sits empty.

Williams got it wrong by handing Logan Sargeant’s FW46 to Alex Albon in Melbourne, believes Jolyon Palmer, who has also been left questioning why Sargeant was given a new contract considering the lack of faith.

Albon’s heavy shunt during the opening practice session put his car on the shelf for the remainder of the Australian Grand Prix, but rather than taking no further part, after Williams made the shock reveal that they did not have a spare chassis, Albon was instead given team-mate Sargeant’s car.

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Williams team boss James Vowles described that decision as “one of the hardest” yet in his time as principal, but it was a controversial call which he nonetheless made, leaving Sargeant on the sidelines through no fault of his own.

Many could understand the reasoning, Albon having scored 27 of the 28 points achieved by this Williams driver pairing, though former Renault driver Palmer believes Williams made the “wrong move”, adding that it calls into question why Sargeant was re-signed for F1 2024 in the first place.

“The decision to put Alex into Logan Sergeant’s car was a difficult one for Williams, one that James Vowles said was the toughest decision he’s had to make – and I don’t doubt that, but I believe it was the wrong move,” Palmer wrote for the Formula 1 website.

“Let’s break it down. Firstly, would Albon have been the stronger driver for the weekend? Logically yes, given his form over last season and this compared to Sargeant.

“But he did miss out on 34 laps on Friday compared to his team-mate, the equivalent to a session and a half. He also did no Friday qualifying simulation runs or race running, unlike Logan.

“If Vowles does still think that Albon would have been stronger despite that, then it begs the question: why did they re-sign Sargeant for 2024 if they have such little confidence in him?”

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But, after Sargeant came face-to-face with the “hardest moment of my career”, Palmer said the American racer now has a “point to prove” after this showing of lacking faith.

“The season is long and there’s plenty of recovery time for the team and for Logan Sergeant, but to see your car being stripped and set up for your team-mate must take some getting over, no matter how magnanimous he was in public,” Palmer continued.

“More than ever now though, the American has a point to prove. Not just to the media and the watching world, but to his own team.”

Albon narrowly missed out on the points-paying positions in Melbourne, crossing the line P11.

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