Logan Sargeant Proves His Worth in F1 Despite Unjust Criticism
Williams driver Logan Sargeant has impressed the team and former doubter James Vowles with his performance in his debut Formula 1 season. Despite initial reservations, Vowles now recognizes that Sargeant is “the real deal” and that Williams’ investment in him was well-placed.
Formula 1 team principal James Vowles, who had previously not selected Logan Sargeant for a junior driver role at Mercedes, now agrees that Williams was correct in recognizing Sargeant’s potential as “the real deal”.
Despite his lack of experience in Formula 2, Sargeant was given a race seat at Williams this season due to a combination of factors and the team’s initial targets opting for other opportunities. Sargeant demonstrated his abilities by winning two races and impressing in a challenging year in F2.
Sargeant became a part of the Williams young driver programme towards the end of 2021, and the team provided him with funding for his Formula 2 season. He was signed by former Williams team boss Jost Capito, who departed in December.
James Vowles succeeded Capito in February of this year and has been impressed by Sargeant, who he evaluated for Mercedes a few years ago during his tenure as a senior member of the championship-winning team.
Vowles was intrigued by Sargeant’s performance, particularly during his time in Formula 3 with an average team, Charouz, in 2021.
Vowles mentioned that Sargeant was Piastri’s Prema team-mate in 2020, and Vowles holds Piastri in high regard as well.
When Sargeant was evaluated for Mercedes, the team had a strong pool of drivers, so Vowles’ interaction with him ended there. However, Williams provided funding for Sargeant’s Formula 2 career before Vowles joined the team, and Sargeant is now a professional driver with a salary, thanks to Williams’ confidence in his abilities.
Initially, Vowles had some reservations about how quickly Sargeant would be able to adapt to F1. However, after seeing his performance during testing, Vowles was impressed, and Sargeant has also been doing well in comparison to his more experienced teammate, Alex Albon, during the first two race weekends.
Vowles explained that his hesitance stemmed from the fact that evaluating Sargeant’s abilities accurately was challenging.
Vowles acknowledged that his initial assessment of Sargeant was mistaken, and that Sargeant’s current position on the grid is a result of Williams’ investment in him and his own abilities as a deserving professional driver. He admitted that Williams’ judgment of Sargeant was correct, while his own previous assessment was not.
Other people have also started to take a closer look at Sargeant since his debut in F1. Despite his mixed record in junior single-seater racing, including his stint with Charouz where he managed to achieve impressive results despite being in an unfavoured team, Sargeant did not enter F1 with the reputation of a prodigy.
However, Sargeant has also been subject to unfair criticism, being labelled as a pay driver or commercially-driven choice due to his nationality.
In reality, Sargeant has adapted to F1 seamlessly and his speed has not been an issue.
During Bahrain qualifying, Sargeant was only two tenths slower than his teammate Albon, and he had the pace to beat him in Saudi Arabia but was unable to do so due to a lack of precision in his session.
Sargeant has performed well in both of the Grand Prix races, finishing just a few seconds behind his teammate Albon in the first race and following closely behind him in the second race before Albon encountered brake issues.
Williams has been impressed by Sargeant’s performance beyond just his speed. According to Vowles, Sargeant handled the immense pressure of his F1 debut with great composure and has already demonstrated significant maturity in his racecraft.
Vowles acknowledged that Sargeant lacks the experience that Albon brings to the team, but he also noted that Sargeant possesses a youthful, fiery passion that motivates him to extract every millisecond of performance from the car.
Sargeant’s impatience may have shown during the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix after his composed debut. He appeared frustrated throughout the weekend, particularly with his own errors in qualifying that led to a track limits penalty and mistakes on his subsequent runs.
Additionally, his tyre management during the race was not optimal, which he attributed to feeling disconnected at the start of the race and pushing the tyres too hard in dirty air during the second stint. Although tyre management was also a minor issue for him in the first race, it is not uncommon for rookies to struggle in this area and need improvement.
After the race, Sargeant was uncertain whether he could have done a better job, but his body language and tone suggested that he believed he could have.
He expressed satisfaction with his pace during the first two-thirds of the race but frustration with the end, which he acknowledged was likely his fault.
Sargeant mentioned that his learning process in F1 is never-ending, and he is continually working to make things more natural and second nature.
He stated that the process of improving and understanding things better is not something that can be done all at once, but rather, it is a continuous building process. Despite his progress, Sargeant recognized that there is still much to learn in F1.
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