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sargeant crash f1 williams suzuka japanese gp 2024

Hey Williams, why is Logan Sargeant still in Formula 1?

sargeant crash f1 williams suzuka japanese gp 2024

The beleaguered Williams F1 Team suffered another blow at Suzuka on Friday, after Logan Sargeant pranged due to a “visual error” during FP1 for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, after he was forced to miss the Australian Grand Prix because his team had no spare.

In Melbourne, Sargeant was forced to vacate his cockpit for Alex Albon after the Thai driver crashed during practice at Albert Park. Thereupon it became public knowledge that Williams team principal James Vowles neglected to ensure his team had a spare chassis.

Thus the team’s number one driver took over Sargeant’s car. The damaged chassis was airlifted to Grove where the team fixed it in time for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. Whereupon, Sargeant binned it big time 30-minutes into FP1 on Friday.

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He reported: “I came into this round after a week off feeling more fresh and ready to go than ever. So no, not about confidence. I wanted to kick myself a little bit after today but nothing to do with that. Just a visual error that I’ll move forward on from today for tomorrow.”

Crash-prone Sargeant, in F1 only because his boss Vowles is a believer for whatever reason, despite a glittering pool of young driver talent on the fringes of the top flight deserving of a crack.

In September last year Sargeant crashed at Suzuka, and again today

Sargeant-Suzuka-2023 f1 williams crash Hey Williams, why is Logan Sargeant still in Formula 1?

After Sargeant’s crash at the venue during Qualifying Q1, in September 2023, Vowles commented at the time: “As we near to the end of the year under the cost cap, what you don’t want to be doing is overproducing parts. We’ve had more attrition than was expected, it’s fair to say.

“It will mean we’ll have to divert attention away from other items while producing more spare parts before we get to the end of the year,” added Vowles, shedding light on how Sargeant’s waywardness impacted the production of their 2024 car. Yet they retained the driver.

On Friday, during the team principal’s FIA-hosted press conference, speaking to reporters after another embarrassing session for Williams, Vowles said of the freshly damaged chassis: “It is pretty significant. So the chassis is OK, fortunately, but I would say pretty much everything else isn’t. So suspension all around, gearbox cracked, big damage.”

As for Sargeant’s second costly error at the venue, Vowles explained: “At the top of the brow of the hill there, he struggled to see where his positioning was on track. So it fundamentally looks like he didn’t quite realise where he was with where the grass was on the outside and put a wheel on the grass.”

Vowles: It’s a very different type of mistake

logan sargeant f1 suzuka crash williams

The Williams F1 boss then went on to explain Sargeant’s plight: “I’ve been chatting to him all week, all these last few weeks, in fact, because this is the point where you’ve got to keep a driver very close to you. You’ve sort of given them a very difficult situation to deal with, through no fault of their own.

“But he was honestly in a very good state of mind this week and last night again when I called him at about 9, 10pm, really, really strong state of mind, just wanted to get back into the car and get going, but not with the intention of proving to the world he deserves a seat, just his normal approach to things.”

Vowles then gave his verdict on Sargeant’s latest mistake: “What you saw here wasn’t a driver making a mistake because I think they were pushing to the limit. It’s a very different type of mistake, a frustrating one by all accounts because it wasn’t on the limit of what the car could do. There was far more turning potential in there.

“He just didn’t know where the car was on track relative to where he expected it to be anyway. So I don’t think you’re seeing there the reaction of someone who wasn’t driving in Melbourne. I think you’re seeing more than just a situation that could have appeared at any time,” was Vowles’ excuse for his driver.

While crash-happy Sargeant and Albon steal the spotlight, they overshadow the real problem which is how woeful the operation of the Williams F1 Team has become under Vowles, while unfairly clouding the fact that ‘The Man of Many Words’ dropped the ball on this one by not ensuring his team was battle-ready for the 2024 F1 season.

No spare chassis for Albon and Sargeant until Miami GP

Sargeant to miss FP2 in Japan; Williams F1 chassis undamaged Hey Williams, why is Logan Sargeant still in Formula 1?

And, of course, the news is not good for Williams and their drivers, as Vowles revealed the extent of his miscalculation: “I think the third chassis at the moment won’t be with us until Miami, a long way away.

“In terms of the chassis, if you put all of your resources, everything you possibly had within the organisation on it, you could be eight, 10 weeks that you pretty much get a chassis done, from freezer to something actually built and out there. And that’s by the time you get to sort of the third chassis.

“It takes longer for the first ones as you get used to the process. Clearly, we don’t have the whole organisation just working on that. We’re working at the same time on spares and updates and trying to get the throughput.

“Everything’s just a huge amount that goes through the organisation at this stage. In our particular case, clearly, we don’t and never had the intention of being here without three chassis. The intention was to have three right at the beginning of the year.

“It’s an outcome of just an overload within the system, the complexity of this car and the amount that we were trying to push through. In terms of the complexity of it, it’s enormous. I mean, the chassis is thousands and thousands of pieces you’re trying to bring together at the same time,” Vowles added.

Last year Sargeant was the most expensive F1 driver in terms of damage caused to cars

The weather gods were kind to Williams at Suzuka on Friday. With no chance to repair the severely broken chassis that Sargeant binned in time for FP2, the errant driver was rendered spectator to a wet session with very little running. In other words, the loss of track time affected his rivals as well.

Suzuka is an old-school race track, that punishes mistakes as it did on Friday. That it happened so early in the race weekend suggests that, even with a full F1 season under his belt, Sargeant remains out of his depth. He has failed in the top flight.

In Sargeant’s defence, and worth noting, the chassis he reportedly drove and crashed with during FP1 today was the ‘repaired’ one that Albon smashed in Melbourne.

As F1 fans all we can do for Logan is pray and/or hope he does not hurt himself before the penny drops for Vowles and the Williams team. At the same time, should any driver be racing those cars?

Maybe it is time for the FIA to intervene by questioning Williams and Vowles on why no spare chassis, and make a rule so that such a scenario never happens again in F1. Before establishing if the team is fit to race under the circumstances (broken and patched up cars) simply on the grounds of the safety of their drivers.

On a final note, the Alpine F1 Team have had no spare F1 chassis for Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly. They will have one in for the Chinse Grand Prix according to Team Principal Bruno Famin. (Quotes from Agnes Carlier at Suzuka)

Big Question: Hey Williams, why is Logan Sargeant still in Formula 1?