Logan Sargeant responds to brutal Williams decision with US driver forced to sit out

Jamie Woodhouse
Williams driver Logan Sargeant wearing headphones in the team garage.

Williams racer Logan Sargeant.

Sidelined Logan Sargeant said he hit the “hardest moment of my career” as Alex Albon’s Williams chassis breakage saw him handed Sargeant’s for the remainder of the Australian Grand Prix weekend.

Albon found several barriers in a hefty shunt during the opening practice session at Albert Park. He fortunately was unhurt, though his Williams FW46 was left in bad shape, with the chassis left beyond a repairable state during the course of the race weekend.

Logan Sargeant: Williams Australian GP axe ‘hardest moment of my career’

As Williams had not brought a spare chassis with them to Melbourne, it meant they faced the awful call of having to decide which driver would race on, and who would now watch on. Albon would get the nod, consigning Sargeant to the sidelines.

Sargeant has vowed to continue helping the team in any way he can, but could not hide how much that Williams decision hurt.

“This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career and it’s absolutely not easy,” he said.

“I am, however, completely here for the team and will continue to contribute in any way that I can this weekend to maximise what we can do.”

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Similarly, Williams team principal James Vowles reflected on the decision as one of his toughest as part of the team, though stressed that they had to give themselves the best chance of scoring points on Sunday.

Of the 28 points scored as part of the Albon-Sargeant pairing, 27 of those have been won by Albon.

“As we fitted the soft tyres to Alex for his fast-lap, he hit the kerb at Turn 6. As he landed, it landed poorly and is speared him off into the wall,” said Vowles as he reflected on Albon’s FP1 crash.

“The damage was extensive. The gearbox is split in two, the power unit has significant damage to it and the chassis was damaged beyond repair at the track on the front-right corner.

“The main thing for me is that Alex is okay after that incident. It was a huge accident. You will see perhaps on TV, just the amount of debris spread across the track and always in those circumstances, driver’s health comes first and he is okay.

“However, and this is the downside to things, we don’t have a spare chassis here in Melbourne with us.

“As a result of the work that took place across the winter, we stressed the organisation to the absolute limits. We pushed everything as far as it could do. And what it meant as a result of that is off the back end of being very late on some of the production, the spare chassis starts to move backwards.

“No team plans to come to an event without a spare chassis. In doing so you create risk. In the absolute best case, it’s uncomfortable and in the worst case, one of the cars is not racing. And that’s the situation we face today.

“We have to ensure that we never, ever put ourselves in that situation again going forward in the future. We’re here to go racing and to only have one car here on Saturday and Sunday, simply isn’t what we’re built to do.

“I’ve made the decision for Logan not to be racing this weekend and for Alex to take the chassis and continue on behalf of Williams Racing on Saturday and Sunday. It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve made so far whilst here in this organisation.

“The midfield is so incredibly tight that a point or two or more may make the difference at the end of the season between being tenth or being sixth. The spread of our cars at the moment is milliseconds. And as much as it pains me to see a driver that – through no fault of their own – won’t be racing on Sunday, I have to prioritise the team above all else.

“Logan has been tremendous. He’s here to support the team in this regard. He’s clearly very much hurting as a result of this decision, but equally strong in as much as he knows the team above all else is the priority.

“What I can say is this, the chassis will be back in the UK as quick as we can possibly make it and will be repaired such that we’re able to race again in Japan with two cars.”

Albon will head into race mode at the Australian Grand Prix looking to get Williams off the mark for points scored in F1 2024.

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