Logan Sargeant offered lifeline amid Williams pressure

Logan Sargeant has endured a challenging debut season in Formula 1 with Williams thus far this year.

Williams rookie Logan Sargeant has been granted special permission to race in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix despite failing to set a time in the qualifying session. 

Sargeant’s unfortunate mishap occurred when he lost control of his Williams car at the final corner, resulting in an extensive crash that thwarted his qualifying attempt.

The ‘107 per cent’ rule in Formula 1 stipulates that drivers must set a qualifying time within 107 per cent of the quickest time recorded in Q1. 

Falling short of this requirement, Sargeant faced the prospect of seeking permission from the race stewards to participate in the race. 

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Fortunately for the young driver, his request was granted, albeit with the condition that he would start from the back of the grid.

An official statement clarified the decision, stating, “In accordance with Article 39.4 of the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, the stewards grant permission for Car 2, Logan Sargeant, to start the race, as the driver has set satisfactory times in practice at this event.”

Sargeant, who is battling to secure his Formula 1 future, expressed his frustration following the crash and his failure to set a qualifying time. 

Reflecting on the incident, he explained, “I just lost the rear on the exit of the last corner, and the grass creeps up on you quickly there as it comes back towards you.” 

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Despite the setback, he acknowledged the need to move forward, saying, “Yeah, it’s a tough one. 

“I just need to put it behind me. 

“What can you do? 

“It’s over with. 

“I feel like it was a pretty good day to that point. 

“I feel like I’ve been pretty quick and was pretty much where I needed to be. 

“Just another small mistake, hugely costly.”

The implications of Sargeant’s crash extend beyond his own racing aspirations to his team, Williams. 

Team principal James Vowles noted that the incident could have a ripple effect on the team’s car development for the remainder of the season. 

Vowles explained, “For a number of races, Logan has been on an old aerodynamic package in a number of ways – actually, a bit of a hybrid.” 

He attributed this choice to the challenges of sourcing parts as the season progresses. 

Under the cost cap regulations, teams aim to avoid overproduction of parts.

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Vowles added, “We’ve had more attrition than expected, I think it’s fair to say. 

“We have enough parts to deal with this accident as it is today, but it will mean that we have to divert attention away from other items in order to produce more spare parts before we get to the end of the year. 

“In terms of what happens overnight, though, we’ll have plenty to be able to rebuild the car.”