While ex-Williams boss Jost Capito felt pressure used to make Logan Sargeant go faster, he reckons it is key that the team now relieve him of it.
The American racer is still without a Formula 1 point as the errors begin to mount up, mostly recently crashing out of qualifying at Suzuka in heavy fashion.
Williams though see progress underneath these rookie mistakes and are desperate to keep their academy graduate in their line-up for next season.
Jost Capito urges calm at Williams with Logan Sargeant
Following the Japanese Grand Prix, James Vowles, who took over from Capito as Williams boss from F1 2023, issued a clear message of support for Sargeant, saying that while he has been given “clear targets”, his qualifying pace at Suzuka was “within a tenth” of team-mate Albon’s despite Albon running an upgraded FW45.
So as for whether Williams feel they are reaching the end of the road with Sargeant, Vowles insisted they are “nowhere near” that point.
It was Capito who gave Sargeant his Formula 1 seat for this season, a driver who the German felt excelled when the pressure ramped up, though now he suggests Williams need to flip to the other end of the scale to save Sargeant’s career.
“Last year in Formula 2, but also the years before, he got stronger and stronger under pressure,” Capito told Formel1.de. “He showed that pressure gives him wings.
“I have the impression that this is not the case at the moment. When the pressure is greater, he tends to make more mistakes.
“In qualifying on Saturday, he was on Alex Albon’s time until the last corner, where the mistake happened. So in terms of speed, he’s getting better.
“It looks like the pressure is making him fast, that he can drive fast and set good times – but then still makes minor mistakes, which then have a bigger cause and effect.
“I think if you really want to stand by him and keep him, you have to take pressure off him and let him drive freely.
“If you stand by him, then you have to say to him, ‘listen, yes, you have to go fast and you have to show the speed, but it’s not tragic and dramatic if something happens then.’
“Of course, the cost cap is also an issue, but I believe that if you encourage a driver, he will make fewer mistakes and less will break.”
A major contender to replace Sargeant, AlphaTauri’s Liam Lawson, has already ruled out the prospect of racing for Williams in F1 2024, while Mick Schumacher is also not believed to be on the team’s radar.