Williams issue crucial chassis update after controversial Logan Sargeant decision

Michelle Foster
Logan Sargeant's Williams garage sits empty at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Logan Sargeant's Williams garage sits empty.

James Vowles is confident Logan Sargeant will be on the grid in Japan, revealing Williams are in a “good place” to get Alex Albon’s chassis repaired in time for the race weekend.

Although it was Albon who crashed heavily in practice for the Australian Grand Prix, it was Sargeant who wasn’t able to continue with the race weekend as Vowles made the controversial call to give his chassis to his team-mate.

Williams expect to have ‘two cars’ on the Suzuka grid

Albon’s shunt had not only damaged all four corners of his FW46 but a finger-sized hole had been punched through to the cockpit.

Williams, short on spare parts, did not have a third chassis available for the Thai-British racer with Sargeant paying the price.

The good news for the American is his team boss believes they will have Albon’s car ready in time for the next race weekend, which begins on April 5th in Japan.

“I’m confident we’ll be able to fix the chassis,” Vowles said in a video posted on social media.

“We put measures in place to make sure the chassis was back here very early on Monday morning. I think it arrived around 2 a.m. or so.

“Since then there was all the crews inside the building working on that, stripping it down and doing repairs.

“Just an update today, we’re in a good place for having the chassis back early enough for Suzuka.”

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The former Mercedes strategy director revealed Williams had already began the preliminary work on Albon’s chassis even before it left Melbourne.

“A lot of work was done back in Melbourne,” he continued.

“There was photographs and techniques called NDT, which is Non-Destructive Testing. So there’s various ones you can do there but it allows us to fully understand how big the damage is and what we have to do.

“That preparation was key.

“What it meant was already at 2 a.m. on Monday, work could start. It wasn’t then a reflection on what was happening, it was more, this is what we’re doing and this is how we execute it.

“So in Suzuka, we’ll have two cars without too many issues.”

Williams, though, will go into the Japanese GP without a spare chassis available, opening the door for a repeat situation.

Handing Sargeant’s car over to Albon on the Saturday of the Australian Grand Prix, Vowles insisted he “wouldn’t have made” the decision if he didn’t believe it was worth it.

“Even the probability of scoring a point is what’s important to me at the moment,” he added. “I have hard decisions to make and mine is for the wellbeing of this organisation as a whole. And that is I’ll do everything it takes to score the point if it is available to us.”

Alas, Albon fell short in 11th place as the driver’s efforts were hampered by severe tyre wear.

Williams, who have yet to score a point this season, are eighth on the log ahead of Stake and Alpine.

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