Motor racing-Sargeant out of Australian GP so Albon can race

By Thomson Reuters Mar 22, 2024 | 6:17 AM

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Williams Formula One driver Logan Sargeant will miss the Australian Grand Prix after his car was given to team mate Alex Albon, who crashed heavily in Friday practice with no spare available.

The team said Albon’s wrecked car had been withdrawn and would be sent back to the factory at Grove in England for repairs.

“Due to the fact that a third chassis is unavailable, the team can confirm it has taken the decision for Alex to compete for the remainder of the weekend in the chassis that Logan Sargeant drove in FP1 and FP2,” Williams said.

Sargeant, who scored just one point in his rookie season last year with Albon’s 27 lifting Williams to seventh overall, recognised it was tough to take.

“This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career and it’s absolutely not easy,” the 23-year-old American said in the statement.

“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,” he added.

Team boss James Vowles thanked Sargeant for his understanding.

“It’s unacceptable in modern day Formula One 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,” he said.

“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,” he added.

Albon’s crash triggered a red flag in the first session, with the British-born Thai locking up and smashing into the barrier at turn six before then hitting the opposite barrier to damage both sides of his car.

The Thai, who crashed at the same turn last year on race day, was unhurt.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Toby Chopra and Toby Davis)