Williams rookie Logan Sargeant needed a good showing this weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix, and until FP3 was doing a decent job but during Qualifying on Saturday, he crashed heavily at the start of the home straight adding more pressure on his flailing Formula 1 career.
Make no mistake, Sargeant is a good racing driver, as are his peers who have made their way up the gruelling junior series up the F1 ladder to the top flight. But, harsh as it may sound, simply not good enough for F1 of this generation, in which the benchmark is Max Verstappen.
Furthermore, Sargeant’s Williams teammate Alex Albon, whose career the Dutchman almost destroyed, is the other benchmark for the American. And it has been no contest all season in the ALB vs. SAR battle on all fronts as stats show,
In to his 16th GP weekend, it was hard to see Williams keeping Sargeant for 2024 no matter how much money he might bring or how big F1 is in his homeland USA. Real F1 fans Stateside are generally well-informed and also know quality when they see it. They will know too he is not the real deal for the pinnacle of the sport.
When interviewed in the TV pen afterwards, inadvertently Logan wrote what could well be his F1 epitaph: “I lost the rear in the last corner where the grass creeps up on you. It’s tough. I’ll just put it behind me, what can you do?”
Logan: Just another small mistake but hugely costly
“It’s over, it’s over with,” added a visibly crestfallen Sargeant repeated. “I feel like it has been a pretty good day to that point. I feel like I have been pretty quick and where I needed to be. Just another small mistake but hugely costly.”
Notably, after witnessing the incident (and another very expensive repair bill) Williams team boss James Vowles all but signed Sargeant’s dismissal papers when he told Sky F1: “He’s only got himself to blame for that one I’m afraid, Logan. He could have backed out of it. The drivers who have had the twitch, the snap of oversteer, have backed out of it.
“The difference when you’re on a qualifying lap is the eagerness to keep the throttle down sometimes takes over rational sense. The most important thing is he was able to jump out of that okay,” conceded Vowles, of what was a high-impact crash that briefly silenced the massive crowd, while drawing gasps up and down the pit lane.
Meanwhile, even before today, Sargeant – whose future (or lack thereof) in the sport has been a hot topic in the paddock for some time now – is sure to feel mounting pressure, as the Williams drive alongside Albon remains the only F1 seat marked with an “?” for 2024 – see graphic below.
Will this shunt at Suzuka today be the final straw…?