Logan Sargeant has clearly been making steady improvement of late with Williams’ Dave Robson ruing that his crashes are detracting from his progress.
Sargeant crashed not once but twice at the Suzuka circuit, out in qualifying when he touched the grass into the final corner, before retiring from the race after hitting Valtteri Bottas.
He pitted for a new front wing after that, but Williams noted the damage to his car was becoming progressively worse and made the call to retire the car.
Williams: Logan Sargeant’s crashes a real shame
It meant for the 15th race in his Formula 1 career Sargeant walked away from a grand prix weekend without a single point on the board with the rookie’s seat reportedly on the line.
According to reports, Felipe Drugovich is in talks with the team while Liam Lawson and Mick Schumacher are also knocking on the door.
For now Williams are keeping faith in their American rookie with team boss James Vowles telling Blick he has until the end of the season to “prove” himself.
In a vote of confidence Robson, Williams’ head of vehicle performance, is adamant the driver has been showing steady improvement, it’s just that his crashes are what have been making the headlines.
“I guess inevitably they catch the headlines, don’t they, and they’re obviously visible,” Robson said as per Speedcafe.
“I think it had kind of masked his steady performance, and this weekend was actually going really well.
“It is such a difficult circuit to come to and find the lap time, and we he went about it really well on Friday, built on that yesterday, and then to lose it in the very last corner on the first lap.
“It was quite a minor mistake, it’s just at that corner, once you touch the grass, you’re in a whole heap of trouble.
“It’s a real shame but I think it is fair that the crashes, since Zandvoort, have masked what has clearly been some steady improvement.”
Crashes proving costly for Williams
His crashes, aside from detracting from his progress, are also proving costly for Williams with the team having to change so many parts after his qualifying crash that they were penalised for essentially running a third car.
“Almost everything,” Robson said of Saturday’s repair job. “Essentially a spare power unit, previously used one, so no additional penalties. Spare gearbox, same thing, a previously used one.”
He, however, isn’t worried that Williams are going to run out of parts. Sargeant may just have to use a few old ones.
“We’ve got enough parts around us, it just becomes a bit of a logistical exercise; how many do we want to actually ship on the circuit; what do we send on to the next; what do we send back to the UK.” Robson explained.
“I don’t think there’s too much panic. We will need to get that chassis repaired, which will consume a little bit of time at the factory, but otherwise, we’ve got enough bits around.”
With six races remaining, Williams are seventh in the Constructors’ Championship with 21 points, all scored by Alex Albon.