Alex Albon or Logan Sargeant? Williams facing tough Australian Grand Prix decision

Thomas Maher
Alex Albon, Williams, 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Williams do not have a spare chassis available if Alex Albon's FW46 chassis is damaged beyond safe use.

Williams may not be able to field two drivers in the Australian Grand Prix following Alex Albon’s hefty crash in first practice.

Alex Albon crashed his Williams FW46 heavily in the first practice session in Melbourne, which it’s emerged has now put his participation in the rest of the weekend in doubt.

Alex Albon brings out the red flags with practice crash

With just 20 minutes remaining in the early afternoon session, Albon ran slightly wide out of Turn 6 and appeared to bottom out on Turn 7’s exit kerb.

The same corner at which he crashed out of last year’s race, Albon lost control of his car and ended up in the wall on the right-hand side of the track.

Bouncing off the concrete, Albon ended up crossing back over the track and then hitting the left-hand side of the walls lining the circuit before coming to a gradual stop.

With debris all over the track after the hard hit, Albon clambered free as the red flags were shown, and Williams confirmed he would be unable to take part in the second practice session as the team assessed the damage to the FW46. recommends

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Ahead of the second practice session in Melbourne, a statement from Williams to the media said: “Further to Alex’s accident in FP1, we can confirm that he will not participate in FP2 while we continue to assess the damage.

“Alex was uninjured in the incident.”

But the weekend may be about to get more complicated for Williams, as the team has confirmed to that the Grove-based squad does not have a spare chassis available for use in Melbourne.

As a result, if Albon’s chassis is damaged beyond being able to be used safely, Williams will only be able to field one car – meaning a potentially tricky situation if the team is caught in two minds as to whether to give the car to Albon or Logan Sargeant.

Investigations into the extent of the damage to the car continue, with no confirmation from Williams yet emerging that the chassis is not able to be used.

While Albon’s damage is self-inflicted, the British-Thai driver has been the Grove-based team’s star performer over the past 12 months, while Sargeant has only scored a solitary point in the entirety of his career.

Speaking on Sky Sports F1, Martin Brundle labeled it a “no-brainer” if Williams does have to make the decision between their two drivers, saying it makes more sense to give Albon the only available chassis.

Pat Fry: Everything was massively late

Williams’ lack of spare chassis could be closely linked to the fact the team were quite late developing physical components for this season, with chief technical officer Pat Fry admitting to the late timeline during pre-season testing.

With Williams opting against a pre-testing shakedown for the FW46, Fry – who joined the team late last season from Alpine – said he’d “never seen anything like it” with so many parts being made extremely late.

“The way we go about making a car is quite different from what I would call normal,” Fry said. “And it’s not very efficient.

“Everything is massively late. [It’s not as] if you’re leaving things late for a reason, and I’m used to having lots of stuff early that’s not performant, and the floor as late as possible, because that’s your biggest aero thing. And in a cost cap, you’re only going to make one, and the one at the test is the one at the race.

“But we just had everything [late]. I’ve never seen anything like it. Don’t want to live it again. I’m sure James [Vowles, team boss] doesn’t want to live it again either!”

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