Logan Sargeant ‘kicking himself’ after Suzuka crash as Williams rule out popular theory

Thomas Maher
Logan Sargeant, Williams, 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

Logan Sargeant crashed his Williams in practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Logan Sargeant has explained what went wrong as the American driver crashed his newly repaired Williams in first practice at Suzuka.

Halfway through the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, Sargeant lost control of his car as he ran slightly wide onto the grass at the Dunlop Curve and spun off into the barriers.

Logan Sargeant: It was a silly error

The error resulted in Sargeant sitting out the rest of the day’s action, with the team facing too big a repair job to have the car ready to go for second practice – something that ended up being largely irrelevant as the rain prevented a normal FP2 session and curtailed track action.

For the Japanese GP weekend, Sargeant is driving the freshly repaired chassis that Alex Albon crashed into the wall in Australia in FP1 – the monocoque was flown back to Grove in the UK for extensive repairs before being flown back to Japan.

With no spare chassis available to the Williams drivers, with the timeline now updated to suggest Miami as the earliest chance to have a third chassis available, the good news for Sargeant is that the damage in the Japan crash won’t prevent him from taking part for the rest of the weekend.

“I just put the car in a place where I didn’t realise I was at,” he explained afterward.

“It’s a bit of a silly error, to be honest, one that I shouldn’t be making – especially in FP1.”

Sargeant crashed heavily in qualifying, resulting in a pitlane start, during last season’s Japanese GP – but the American said this year’s error was completely different.

“Fortunately, it wasn’t like the mistake last year, it wasn’t an over-pushing thing but, nevertheless, it still left the team with some damage,” he said.

“But, fortunately, we got away better than it could have been.”

Team-mate Alex Albon, who completed the FP1 session in 12th place, downplayed the impact the crash would have on Williams’ weekend.

“I don’t think it’s as bad as it looked,” he said.

“Logan didn’t do any monocoque damage, which is the main thing.

“He was running the older front wing when he had his off, so no damage was done either there. So, honestly, it’s not the end of the world.”

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James Vowles: Logan Sargeant didn’t realise where the car was

Williams team boss James Vowles later explained Sargeant’s mishap, saying that the American had made an error in judging where his car was in relation to the tarmac through such a fast section of the circuit.

Asked how bad the damage was, he said: “It’s enormous – floor, front wing, all suspension, and gearbox is cracked as well. It’s a big, big job to rebuild.

“In terms of what happened, he’d done a number of laps prior to that point.

“Suzuka is unforgiving – when you move just a few centimetres offline, it’s not that you run wide, you crash.

“In this particular circumstance, he put a wheel on the grass and the rest is history. In terms of why he was there, I think he just didn’t have quite the visibility. It’s the brow of a hill, and he didn’t quite realise where the car was.”

A key topic in the lead-up to the Japanese GP weekend has been the question marks over Sargeant’s confidence, given his team chose to take him out of his own intact car in Australia in order to give it to Albon.

Vowles said he hasn’t seen any change in Sargeant’s approach to the weekend, and praised the mindset the driver – in his sophomore year in F1 – has taken to trying to prove himself.

“We’ve been talking all the way through the week,” he said.

“I spoke to him again last night because, very clearly in the circumstances, I want him performing at his absolute best.

“I think prior to that point, you saw where his performance was – he was up there in and around the region where he should have been on a track that’s very difficult to get up to speed. His soft tyre time was competitive at that point.

“I’m not seeing any lack of confidence from him. He’s a consummate professional in every sense, and he wants to perform at the very highest level.

“This wasn’t a normal situation where you’ve taken too many risks going into a corner. This is just a situation where you weren’t quite aware of where the car fully was. So I wouldn’t put it down to a pressurised situation. I’d also say that you’ll see him coming back strong as a result of it as well.”

Sargeant himself denied he’s facing a crisis of confidence, instead saying that his time off had resulted in feeling raring to go for Japan.

“Definitely, [confidence] wasn’t knocked at all,” he said.

“If anything, I came into this round after a week off feeling more refreshed and ready to go than ever.

“So no, no confidence lost. I wanted to kick myself a little bit after today, but nothing to do with that. It’s just a visual error that I’ll move forward on from tomorrow.”

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