Logan Sargeant out of the Australian Grand Prix as Alex Albon takes his drive

Logan Sargeant out of the Australian Grand Prix as Alex Albon takes his drive

Williams has pulled Logan Sargeant out of the Australian Grand Prix so that his teammate Alex Albon can drive his car.

Alex Albon will take over teammate Logan Sargeant’s car for the rest of the weekend after Williams was unable to field two cars at Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix.

Albon was forced to miss the entirety of the second practice in the afternoon due to the team’s inability to fix his damaged chassis following his crash during the first session in Melbourne.

Williams conducted further analysis which proved that the car could not be fixed due to the extensive damage and the team later confirmed to be a car short this weekend after failing to bring a spare replacement chassis to Melbourne.

Speaking earlier in the day about the original accident, Albon said that “it was a tricky session in FP1 and I paid the price for it. I ran a little wide and went up onto the exit curb and bottomed out when I landed.

“It’s frustrating. I think we had a car that was quite quick this weekend, so it’s disappointing to not have been able to participate in FP2, and we don’t have a spare chassis.”

The damaged chassis will be returned to the team’s headquarters in Grove and since the team did not have a spare chassis, it soon became a question of who would drive on Sunday.

According to confirmation from team principal James Vowles, Albon – who is the team’s lead driver – will race in the chassis that Sargeant had been using which means the latter will be sidelined for the rest of the Australian Grand Prix weekend.

Vowles – who took over as the team boss at the start of the previous season – acknowledged that it was “unacceptable” that the team did not have sufficient parts for a replacement car in time for the championship’s third round.

“We are hugely disappointed that the damage sustained to the chassis has meant we need to withdraw it from the weekend,” Vowles said. “It’s unacceptable in modern day Formula 1 not to have a spare chassis.

“But it is a reflection of how behind we were in the winter period and an illustration of why we need to go through significant change in order to get ourselves in a better position for the future.

“As a result, we have had some very difficult decisions to make this afternoon. While Logan should not have to suffer from a mistake that he did not make, 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. This decision was not made lightly and we cannot thank Logan enough for his graceful acceptance, demonstrating his dedication to the team; he is a true team player.

“This will prove a tough weekend for Williams, and this situation is not one that we will put ourselves in again.”

Williams’ decision comes after a 2023 campaign in which Albon finished with seven points, while Sargeant only managed only a single point in his rookie season.

Sargeant’s forced exit from this weekend’s Grand Prix infuriated Albon just as much.

“I have to be totally honest and say that no driver would want to give up his seat,” Albon said. “I would never want anything like this to happen.

“Logan has always been a consummate professional and a team player from day one, and this won’t be an easy one for him to take.

“At this point though, I cannot dwell on the situation and my only job now is to maximise our potential this weekend and work with the whole team to make sure we do the best job possible.”

Sargeant added: “This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career and it’s absolutely not easy.

“I am however completely here for the team and will continue to contribute in any way that I can this weekend to maximise what we can do.”

Along with the time lost since Albon was unable to participate in FP2, Williams also lost time because Sargeant damaged his medium tyres early in the second practice, forcing him to complete his high-fuel runs on the soft compound.

“We have a lot of work to do tonight to understand where the performance of the car is, particularly at high fuel,” Williams head of vehicle performance admitted.

“At low fuel, the car is working well, and we know where we can find more time, but we didn’t learn much at high fuel today and so it is less clear what we need to do in preparation for the race.

“We’ll work through the data that we have and complete some further testing during FP3 to finalise the setup for qualifying.”

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