Ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher believes that Mercedes Junior driver and Formula 2 star Frederik Vesti is being watched “closely” by Williams, with the German believing this is why Logan Sargeant hasn’t been given a new deal yet.
Sargeant is the only driver on the grid yet to be retained for 2024, with Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix currently set to be his last in F1.
Williams team principal James Vowles has stressed that he’s simply giving Sargeant the entire season before making a decision, although most are certain that the young American will be given a second chance in 2024.
Should Williams decide against keeping Sargeant, then Vesti appears to be the Grove-based team’s best option, after Mick Schumacher announced that he’ll be competing in the 2024 World Endurance Championship for Alpine.
This is the view of Michael Schumacher’s brother, who suspects that Vesti’s performance in the F2 finale at the Yas Marina Circuit will be monitored by Williams.
“In Las Vegas, I wondered why James Vowles had not yet signed Sargeant to Williams,” Schumacher told Sky Germany.
“This is probably because Frederik Vesti is on his wish list.
They are watching him closely in Abu Dhabi and may view his data in order to make a decision for next year.”
Vesti took the fight for the F2 title down to the final race of the season on Sunday against Theo Pourchaire, after he claimed victory in Saturday’s Sprint race.
The Mercedes Junior driver actually participated in Free Practice 1 for the Silver Arrows on Friday, where he replaced Lewis Hamilton.
Vesti is viewed very highly by the Brackley-based outfit and is known by Vowles, which is perhaps why there is speculation linking him to Williams.
After progressing to Q3 for the first time in his F1 career at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, it was back to normal service for Sargeant on Saturday, as he was eliminated in Q1.
He’ll start Sunday’s crucial race for him in P20 after he failed to set a legal lap-time, whilst Alex Albon managed to secure 14th on the grid.
It means that Albon has out-qualified Sargeant in every Grand Prix this season, in what is an unwanted statistic for the 22-year-old.