Why Williams Forced Sargeant To Miss Australian Grand Prix By Replacing Him With Albon

Saturday, 23 March 2024 at 02:00
albonsargeant williams
Williams Racing will enter the 2024 Australian Grand Prix with only one driver, and it will be Alex Albon.
Surprisingly, it's the Thai driver's fault that the team will enter the third Grand Prix of the season with only one driver, as he crashed his car when exiting Turn 6 during the first Free Practice session of the weekend.
The team then worked on his car throughout the second Free Practice session, but it soon became apparent that they wouldn't be able to fix the chassis in time for the qualifying and the race.
The team, therefore, had to make a difficult decision to withdraw the chassis from the race, but instead of keeping Logan Sargeant in the weekend after Albon's fault, they replaced the American driver in his car with this teammate.
Seemingly, everyone was a little bit uncomfortable with the decision, but still, it was made, so there had to be a significant reason behind it, as both drivers were aware of the significance of the decision.

"I have to be totally honest and say that no driver would want to give up his seat. I would never want anything like this to happen."

- Alex Albon

"This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career and it's absolutely not easy." 

- Logan Sargeant

Since Williams is a midfield team, fighting for every point in the World Constructors' Championships is important, and that's also something that the Team Principal, James Vowles, said in the statement.

"Every race counts when the midfield is tighter than ever, so we have made the call based on our best potential to score points this weekend."

Therefore, it's easy to look at the data that the team likely considered, and that's the last season. Although it was Sargeant's first-ever F1 season, he finished 21st in a 20-man World Championship, scoring only one point throughout the season, one less than Liam Lawson who completed only five races during the season.
At the same time, Albon was able to collect 27 points, single-handedly carrying the team to the seventh place in the World Constructors' Championship, or best from the back-runners.
The Thai driver alone outscored AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo, and Haas, and therefore, it's not surprising that also in 2024, the team will want to rely on him when it comes to collecting points, and the decision likely only reflects both drivers' performances from 2023.