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Vowles: Sargeant struggles very much on us as well

Vowles: Sargeant struggles very much on us as well

Vowles: Sargeant struggles very much on us as well

Williams Team Principal James Vowles admitted that his team shoulders a bit of blame for Logan Sargeant’s struggles in his rookie Formula 1 season.

Sargeant has been disappointing in his debut F1 season, after being jettisoned into the Williams seat following a 2022 season in Formula 2 where he finished fourth in the standings.

And as the American’s struggles continue in 2023, there have been speculations that he will be replaced at the end of this season with Mick Schumacher rumored to be his replaced, and most recently, 2022 F2 Champion and current Aston Martin reserve Felipe Drugovich the latest driver linked with Sargeant’s seat.

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However, speaking to Williams Racing‘s website, Vowles insists the team want their under-pressure driver to succeed.

Vowles said: “Logan has very clear targets of what he has to hit before the end of the season, and we are working with him continuously. And that’s the important point, we are working with him. We want him to succeed, and we want him in the car next year.

“This is very much on us as well,” he pointed out. We have taken someone straight from Formula 2, without any significant testing, put him a day and half in Bahrain in this car, and then wished them well on a season that has been awfully challenging for rookies, full stop.”

However, according to Vowles, there are positives in the Sargeant situation, he revealed: “There were some very positive signs to take out.

“First and foremost, Logan is not on the same aerodynamic specific as Alex was. We have updates that are on Alex’s car that are not on Logan’s, due to the amount of attrition we have had this year.

“So, often when you see a performance offset it is not quite what it may seem on the timing pages. Furthermore, to that, if you look at the case of Suzuka, he did a build up across the weekend, as he went into FP3, he did a time that matched Alex,” he explained.

But then Sargeant binned it in qualifying at Suzuka, Vowles reflected: “And as we go into qualifying, until the accident he was overlaying, line-on-line, within a tenth of Alex’s performance at one of the trickiest circuits of the season.

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“So, the progress is there in certain forms but very clearly being marred by a number of other issues and accidents have appeared as well. We will continue to work with Logan, and invest in Logan, as we want him to succeed as a result of the journey he is on.

“He is on a journey with us as Williams, we have a young driver programme that we will continue to invest in. And only at the point where all of us come to the conclusion that we have reached the end of that road will we make any decisions, but we are nowhere near that yet,” the Williams boss maintained.

After his crash, Sargeant’s car was rebuilt and had to start the Japanese Grand Prix  from the pitlane, but the steward gave him a ten-second time penalty as they have deemed Williams have built him a third car.

Vowles explained what went down, he said: “There was very short period of time to rebuild the car between the accident and the race.

“The car has to go effectively under covers, and everyone has to go home. In the morning, as a team, we made a list of what work had to be carried out and everyone came in early, around about 6am or so.

“We are aware of the regulation, and it is simply a mistake, ultimately because as a group we were very keen to make sure we hit the timeline required. As a result of that there were simply two items put on the car that shouldn’t have been put on the car at that time of day.

“[It] has to be done five hours before the race, it was a little bit early. It’s fair as in as much as that regulation is incredibly clear in what it says.

“And that is on us, not on the mechanics, the mechanics were simply following protocol,” Vowles concluded.

Big Question: Does Logan Sargeant deserve to be on the 2024 Formula 1 Grid?