‘Hardest moment I can remember’: Shattered Williams driver forced out of Aus GP… by teammate’s practice crash


Speaking in the Albert Park paddock on Thursday, Logan Sargeant was relaxed and confident that we had yet to see the best of him in Formula 1.

Sitting down with The Roar for a one-on-one interview, the American brushed off the supposed pressure on his shoulders in his second season.

“I guess there’s just a different pressure, he explained. “I guess the pressure this year is to make a step up, which is fine. And I feel like I’ll do so. At the same time, it is what it is. [I’ll] just get on with it [and] do the best I can.”

24 hours later, through no fault of his own, that pressure has taken an unexpected turn, as Sargeant has suddenly found himself sitting out the rest of the Australian Grand Prix weekend.

His Williams teammate Alex Albon crashed out of first practice on Friday at Albert Park, damaging his FW46 so extensively, the team was forced to withdraw it from the remainder of the Grand Prix.

With no spare chassis available, the team had to make a decision between which driver would take part in the rest of the weekend.

And despite Sargeant’s strong Friday showing and being the one who didn’t crash, Williams stuck with Albon, benching the American.

Oscar Piastri of Australia and McLaren F1 Team. (Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)

Williams said in a statement on Friday night that the decision was made “based on our best potential to score points this weekend” before adding “we cannot thank Logan enough for his graceful acceptance, demonstrating his dedication to the team; he is a true team player.”

No matter what the team says, it Is clear the decision reaffirms Williams has very limited confidence in allowing Sargeant the opportunity to make that step up he said he is capable of doing, which is somewhat ironic given Sargeant spoke about team unity and the team having his back only a day before when speaking with The Roar.

“It’s great for me to have had that support,” he said on Thursday. “But it’s not just me. it kind of filters through the whole team. I feel like everyone feels like there’s that bit of space to keep working. Improving. Just keep getting better as a whole. As a team. As a unit. So I think that gives everyone good confidence.”

A decision like this is not made lightly of course. Williams said exactly that in their statement explaining the decision.

However, to so openly give one driver a vote of confidence and have them feel like it’s an overall supportive environment, only to savagely take that away is a cruel blow to the confidence of Sargeant and his hopes of remaining in Formula 1 beyond 2024.

“This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career and it’s absolutely not easy,” Sargeant said in a statement after the decision. “I am however completely here for the team and will continue to contribute in any way that I can this weekend to maximise what we can do.”

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With such a dramatic Friday for the team, that maximum may be limited. Sadly for Sargeant’s Formula 1 career, it might be the same.

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