James Vowles caught the Formula 1 community off guard when he revealed Williams’ intentions for the upcoming season, stating, “We want Logan Sargeant in the car next year.” It was a statement that took Sargeant by surprise, and he described the public support as a “nice surprise.”
Sargeant’s journey in Formula 1 has been far from smooth sailing. The pressure to score points has often led to mistakes on the track. Following his crashes at the Japanese Grand Prix, Dave Robson, the head of vehicle performance at Williams, pointed out that these errors were detracting from Sargeant’s overall progress. Robson acknowledged, “I think it had kind of masked his steady performance, and this weekend [Suzuka] was actually going really well. It’s a real shame, but I think it is fair that the crashes, since Zandvoort, have masked what has clearly been some steady improvement.”
Despite Sargeant’s continuous efforts, pundits have been questioning whether he is a “viable” option for Williams in the 2024 season. In response to the skepticism, James Vowles released a video across Williams’ social media channels, reaffirming the team’s commitment to Sargeant. He stated, “Logan has very clear targets of what he has to hit before the end of the season, and we are working with him, we want him to succeed and we want him in the car next year. We will continue to work with Logan and invest in Logan, as we want him to succeed as the result of the journey he’s on. He’s on a journey with us as Williams. We have a young driver programme that we will continue to invest in.”
The public show of faith was a heartening surprise for the American driver, who is yet to score a point in Formula 1. Sargeant commented on the announcement, saying, “It’s always nice, I mean, from my side, I talk to James every single weekend. I knew that before anything was put on social media. It was just sort of a nice surprise, really. I didn’t know that was coming. But at the end of the day, I have to just keep working hard, keep my head down, and try to be better.”
Reflecting on his recent performance in Japan, Sargeant noted, “Japan, including the lap until the last corner in quali, was my best weekend to this point, 100%. I built it up nicely, did everything I needed to, I was just too heavy on the right foot in the last corner, and that’s how quickly it can go wrong. I think realistically now it’s just more important to have a clean weekend and not go for every last hundredth, even if that means I’m leaving a tenth or two on the table.”
Support for Sargeant also comes from his teammate, Alex Albon, who believes that the young driver has untapped potential. Albon stated, “I’m not the one to decide, but I know Logan pretty well. I can see his performance. I do think he doesn’t get the credit that he deserves. There is a lot of speed and talent within Logan. I think it’s just been a little bit offset with a couple of mistakes that he’s had. In all seriousness, I do think he’s – I mean, I’m not the one to say it, but I get on very well with him, and I think he just needs a bit more time and confidence, and he’ll get up there.”
With six races remaining in the current season, Williams currently holds the seventh spot in the Constructors’ Championship, with all 21 of their points coming from Alex Albon. As Logan Sargeant continues to strive for improvement and gain experience in the challenging world of Formula 1, the unexpected vote of confidence from Williams may just be the motivation he needs to prove his doubters wrong and secure his place on the grid for the 2024 season.