Logan Sargeant admits costly error led to first practice crash

Logan Sargeant admits costly error led to FP1 crash

Logan Sargeant admitted that he made a “silly error” after suffering a major crash in the opening practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

American driver Logan Sargeant has provided an explanation of what went wrong as he crashed his newly repaired Williams chassis during first practice at Suzuka.

Sargeant lost control of his car and crashed into the barriers after running wide at the fast-moving Dunlop Curve left-hander which landed his right-side wheels on the grass and caused the spin. He struck the barrier with the front and rear, causing damage to the FW46’s suspension and shattering the gearbox.

Luckily, the chassis which is the same one that team-mate Alex Albon crashed in Australia and was sent to the UK for repair, survived the violent crash as there’s still no spare available for the team.

As a result of the error, Sargeant missed the remainder of the day’s activities as the team faced too huge of a repair job to get the car ready for the second practice, which was ultimately rendered moot as the rain disrupted track action and precluded a regular FP2 session.

Fortunately for Sargeant, the damages from the Japan crash will not prevent him from racing for the rest of the weekend, although the Williams drivers don’t have access to a spare chassis.

Even so, the team had to deal with yet another costly mishap, particularly when a second gearbox was damaged in two separate incidents. The time frame has been adjusted to indicate that Miami will be the earliest possibility to have a third chassis available.

“I put the car into place I didn’t realise I was at,” Sargeant admitted. “It’s a bit of a silly error, to be honest, one that I shouldn’t be making, especially in FP1.”

Last season’s Japanese Grand Prix saw Sargeant suffer a serious qualifying crash that forced him to start from the pits; however, the American claimed this year’s mishap was quite different.

“Fortunately it wasn’t like the mistakes last year,” he added. “It wasn’t an over-pushing thing, but nevertheless still left the team with some damage.

“Fortunately got away better than it could have been.”

Sargeant maintained that he hadn’t had any reservations about himself following his decision to give up his car to Albon in the Australian GP.

“Definitely wasn’t knocked at all,” he said. “If anything I came into this round after a week off feeling more fresh and ready to go than ever.

“So no confidence lost. I wanted to kick myself a little bit after today, but nothing to do with that, just a visual error that I’ll move forward from tomorrow.”

The impact of the incident on Williams’ weekend was downplayed by teammate Alex Albon, who finished the opening practice in 12th place.

“I don’t think it’s as bad as it looked,” he said. “Logan didn’t do any monocoque damage, which is the main thing.

“He was running the older front wing when he had his off, so no damage was done either there. So, honestly, it’s not the end of the world.”

Sargeant’s incident was further explained by Williams team boss James Vowles, who stated that the driver had misjudged where his car was positioned on the tarmac driving through such a fast section of the track.

Asked the severity of the damage he said: “It’s enormous – floor, front wing, all suspension, and gearbox is cracked as well.

“It’s a big, big job to rebuild. In terms of what happened, he’d done a number of laps prior to that point. Suzuka is unforgiving – when you move just a few centimetres offline, it’s not that you run wide, you crash.

“In this particular circumstance, he put a wheel on the grass and the rest is history. In terms of why he was there, I think he just didn’t have quite the visibility. It’s the brow of a hill, and he didn’t quite realise where the car was.”

Vowles commended Sargeant’s approach to the weekend and said he hasn’t noticed any change as he tackles his second-year as a Formula 1 driver, and he has adopted an aggressive mindset to make a name for himself.

“We’ve been talking all the way through the week,” he said. “I spoke to him again last night because, very clearly in the circumstances, I want him performing at his absolute best.

“I think prior to that point, you saw where his performance was – he was up there in and around the region where he should have been on a track that’s very difficult to get up to speed. His soft tyre time was competitive at that point.

“I’m not seeing any lack of confidence from him. He’s a consummate professional in every sense, and he wants to perform at the very highest level.

“This wasn’t a normal situation where you’ve taken too many risks going into a corner. This is just a situation where you weren’t quite aware of where the car fully was.

“So I wouldn’t put it down to a pressurised situation. I’d also say that you’ll see him coming back strong as a result of it as well.”

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