Williams have one more thing to do before deciding whether or not to continue with Logan Sargeant next season with James Vowles planning a deep dive into the rookie’s 2023 data.
Sargeant is the only driver on this year’s grid who has yet to learn his fate for next season.
The under-fire rookie had a difficult campaign, scoring a single point in 22 races while his team-mate Alex Albon single-handedly gave Williams seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship with his 27 points.
Williams want to look at ‘progress, mistakes, outliers, and growth’
That led to rumours the American, who was whitewashed by Albon in qualifying, could be on his way out.
From Mick Schumacher to Liam Lawson and more recently Frederik Vesti, a queue of drivers have been listed as potential replacements although one by one they’ve taken up other options. Except Vesti.
The Mercedes junior has yet to announce his 2024 plans but Williams is the 2023 F2 runner-up’s only option for a Formula 1 race seat.
Williams, though, are still leaning toward retaining Sargeant although that decision will only be made after Vowles has completed a deep dive into his 2023 data.
“Shortly. Within weeks of where we are now,” he said as per Motorsport.com when asked when a decision would be made.
“Fundamentally, I wanted to make sure I saw the end of the season and assess all the options.
“I’m someone that was very clear from the beginning. I want to assess this across the season, not across one race, to make sure we make the right decision for this team and for the future of Logan as well.
“I just want to check through a full season of data one more time and look at the progress, look at mistakes, look the outliers, look for growth, and just make sure we’re on the right track.”
Vowles, though, did accept that there are “not many” candidates available to replace the 2023 rookie unless Williams want another brand-new driver in the car alongside Albon.
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Vowles’ comments about Sargeant’s future were made just days after the team seemed to accidentally confirm him on his cooldown lap at the season finale.
Crossing the line in 16th place, Sargeant’s race engineer Gaetan Jego said: “Thank you, Logan. Looking forward to next year buddy.”
Vowles then added over the radio: “Well done, I’m sorry we didn’t have the car underneath you today to do more than that.
“You’re contribution this year has been excellent. It’s been a proud moment to watch you grow across the season so far.
“Looking forward to the winter together and many more.”
The Briton, though, was quick to tell F1TV that “you’re getting ahead of yourself.”
But, he added: “Whatever happens, Logan has been in our academy for many, many years. He will always remain a part of our academy. He’s still an excellently quick driver.
“But I think also, if we step away from that and look at the last five races and how he’s been improving, I think you can see signs that he’s doing what we need to earn the seat.
“But we’re not in a position to confirm that at this point in time. The main thing I want him to be aware of, is I’m proud of the steps he’s made.”