'Why Did They Re-Sign Sargeant? Williams Questioned Amid Controversial Move

Sunday, 31 March 2024 at 01:45
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Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer discussed Williams's move to replace Logan Sargeant in their one car for the 2024 Australian Grand Prix as he questioned the decision.
Only one Williams car was on the starting grid for the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, as Alex Albon crashed his own and damaged it beyond repair during the first free practice session.
Despite the fact that Albon crashed, the British team principal, James Vowles, decided to give him Logan Sargeant's car and ordered the American to wait out the weekend on the sidelines.
Jolyon Palmer suggested he could understand the move and had no doubt that it was one of the hardest decisions in Vowles's career so far, but he also said he believed "it was the wrong move." He then wrote in his column for Formula1.com:

"Let's break it down. Firstly, would Albon have been the stronger driver for the weekend? Logically yes, given his form over last season and this compared to Sargeant."

"But he did miss out on 34 laps on Friday compared to his team-mate, the equivalent to a session and a half. He also did no Friday qualifying simulation runs or race running, unlike Logan."

The decision to still replace Sargeant despite all the circumstances suggests that the team principal trusts Albon, far more than the American driver, and Palmer pointed out whether it made sense to re-sign him then.

"If Vowles does still think that Albon would have been stronger despite that, then it begs the question: why did they re-sign Sargeant for 2024 if they have such little confidence in him?"

Max Verstappen reacted to the situation jokingly, saying he would crash his car as well if he were put in the same situation so no one could drive.
The 23-year-old's confidence would have taken a massive hit following what happened. However, he still has 21 races to prove Williams was wrong to replace him. Palmer added:

"The season is long and there's plenty of recovery time for the team and for Logan Sergeant, but to see your car being stripped and set up for your team-mate must take some getting over, no matter how magnanimous he was in public."

"More than ever now though, the American has a point to prove. Not just to the media and the watching world, but to his own team."