Vowles urges Sargeant to “not go back to his old ways of driving” after “reset” over F1 winter break

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Formula 1 is usually very ruthless for drivers who are just entering the top category of motorsport, especially if their first team is not a well-established one on the grid. This has been the case with Logan Sargeant. The driver born in Florida, United States, was third driver with Williams during the 2022 season, while with the departure of Nicholas Latifi from the British team, Williams decided to promote Sargeant to be its second starting driver from the 2023 season onwards.

With Alex Albon as his teammate, Logan Sargeant finished the 2023 season in P21 with just one point, while Albon was in P13 with 27 points. Despite not having great results in the race, Sargeant showed some progress in qualifying sessions, such as at Zandvoort and Las Vegas when he made Q3.

However, errors in his driving caused this good effort to be undermined thanks to accidents on the track. The only Grand Prix where the American driver managed to score points was precisely in one of his home Grand Prix, specifically in Austin, Texas at the Circuit Of The Americas, where he finished in P10.

Despite his relatively poor race performance and failing to outqualify Albon once last year, James Vowles, who serves as his team principal, had already confirmed that Sargeant will still be a Williams driver in 2024. With the reveal of this year’s livery and the FW46, James Vowles was asked about the expectations that the team has for Logan Sargeant, this is what he commented.

“First and foremost, I’ve asked him to surprise the world in terms of his physical fitness, his approach and his performance,” Vowles stated. “So we’ve changed quite a bit with him across this winter period.

“What I’ve asked him to do is to reset. It’s very hard for racing drivers across this period when they finish their last race in early December and then start again in late February to be right on the money straight away.” 

Many mistakes were made by the American driver throughout the season, and although he had a point at the end of the season, that point was thanks to disqualifications after the United States Grand Prix at COTA for Hamilton and Leclerc. Although he managed to show progress as time passed, Sargeant must stop making mistakes that could cost him positions both in qualifying and the race.

“What I’ve asked him to do is to approach the first few days of driving the car with caution again, the same way he did at the end of the year, build up into it, don’t try and rush into success and don’t be disappointed if success doesn’t come to you immediately.

“That’s the confidence I place in him. That’s why he’s back in the car.”

We have to remember that both drivers were not in the same condition during the 2023 season, as Alex Albon had a car with a greater number of aerodynamic updates, while Sargeant had to drive the lagging Williams. Once both cars were on equal terms, the scenario changed a lot for the American, according to James Vowles.

“At the end of the year, when we were on the same equipment, he started to pull right back into where I needed him to be. And what I’ve asked him to do is that momentum needs to continue,” Vowles stated. “I need him now in the winter to not go back to his old ways of driving where he’s trying to extract too much from himself and the car too quickly, but rather approach things progressively.

“We should have a car that is more suiting to both drivers, hoping that we’ve got rid of some of these really nasty effects from last year. But that will also make a platform for him where he should be able to grow much quicker than he did in ’23.”