Williams withdraws Sargeant, Albon takes chassis

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Friday 22nd March 2024. Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. © Williams Racing
© Williams Racing

The Williams racing team has confirmed that it is withdrawing Logan Sargeant from the rest of the Australian Grand Prix weekend in Melbourne, following his team mate's huge accident in Friday practice.

Alexander Albon crashed during the first session in Melbourne and the team was unable to repair his chassis, meaning that he was forced to sit out the whole of FP2 later in the afternoon.

Further analysis by the team confirmed that the car was not repairable. It was also confirmed that Williams had not brought a spare replacement chassis to Melbourne this weekend, leaving them a car down.

Team principal James Vowles subsequently confirmed that as the team's lead driver, Albon would now race in the chassis that had been used by Sargeant, who will now be withdrawn from the rest of the event.

“We are hugely disappointed that the damage sustained to the chassis has meant we need to withdraw it from the weekend," Vowles explained. "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.

"It's unacceptable in modern day F11 not to have a spare chassis," he conceded. "This will prove a tough weekend for Williams, and this situation is not one that we will put ourselves in again.


"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.

"This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career," admitted Sargeant. "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."

Albon was equally unhappy to be the reason for Sargeant to be forced out of this weekend's Grand prix.

"No driver would want to give up his seat," he 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.

Pit garage of Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing closed as he doesn't take part in the second practice session. 22.03.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Practice Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

"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."

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."

As well as the time lost due to Albon being unable to run in FP2, Williams also suffered from Sargeant damaging his medium tyres early in FP2 forcing him to carry out his high fuel runs on the soft compound instead.

"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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