There’s no doubt where the most one-sided team mate contest is

2023 F1 team mate battles

Posted on

| Written by

Logan Sargeant is the first driver to race with the number two on his car since Stoffel Vandoorne five years ago. And the rookie is faring no better than his predecessor did.

Vandoorne famously ended his second and final season in F1 having been out-qualified by his team mate Fernando Alonso at every race. So far Sargeant is on course to suffer the same fate alongside Alexander Albon.

It didn’t look like being quite so one-sided after the first qualifying session of the year ended in Bahrain. Sargeant was just 0.191 seconds behind his team mate at his first attempt. Surely he could cut that gap as he became more familiar with the Williams FW45? So far that hasn’t happened. That remains the closest Sargeant has got, and he’s only lapped within three-tenths of Albon in qualifying on one other occasion.

As a result, number 23 has invariably finished ahead of number two. Albon has also accounted for all of Williams’ points, Sargeant having peaked with 11th at Silverstone, five seconds off a place in the top 10.

Albon grabbed a superb seventh in Canada
This performance can only be considered a disappointment. Sargeant may be one of three newcomers on the grid this year but he had plenty of opportunities to prepare in practise sessions during 2022.

There haven’t been many notable high points for Sargeant since that promising start in Bahrain. Albon hasn’t been flawless either, crashing out in Melbourne long before his team mate went into the back of Nyck de Vries. But Albon was at least running in a points position when he hit the wall.

The good news for Sargeant is that, unlike de Vries, he is driving for a team which appears willing to wait until he’s completed his debut season before passing judgement on him. But it’s going to take a big effort from him in the second half of the season to change that judgement.

The only drivers currently being eclipsed by their team mates to this degree are Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, but they at least have the excuse of being paired with two-times world champions, one of which is the one who saw off Vandoorne so emphatically.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Unrepresentative comparisons omitted. Negative value: Albon was faster; Positive value: Sargeant was faster

2023 F1 season

Browse all 2023 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

35 comments on “There’s no doubt where the most one-sided team mate contest is”

  1. He’s undercooked for sure.
    I will wait next season before I cast judgement.
    At least he’s not binning the car like yuki or mick did in their rookie seasons

    1. Whatever he is, he didn’t prove himself in lower category against drivers who didn’t get their chance; so I don’t expect wonders. New Lance Stroll, performance wise, at best, is my own estimation. That’s how I see it, PR talk turned off. Time will probably prove me right because it seems like a safe bet. As for crashing, that’s good for team’s budget, but it can be explained in many ways (after all, everyone can play it safe, all drivers are able to finish a lap without crashing, except maybe in extreme conditions).

      1. Logan was a legitimate threat to Piastri’s championship in F3 – 4 points between them and he finished fourth in F2 after joining the grid at the tail end of the prior year due to funding issues if I understand correctly. The other three drivers who finished ahead of him in F2 all had far far more F2 experience.

        Not crashing can’t be explained away considering the little time these drivers get with the car and the fact we can point to a litany of new drivers who cost their teams millions of pounds/dollars in repair costs in their rookie seasons. Hell, even veterans are binning cars.

        “New Lance Stroll” my ass
        I’m not even a Logan fan but this take is reductive and pure revisionism Dex.

        1. Well, you can’t deny though that he’s been absolutely dominated by albon, this looks even worse than I felt during the actual weekends.

        2. A piastri level driver shouldn’t really be destroyed by a midfield level driver.

          1. Robert Henning
            12th August 2023, 17:06

            For what it’s worth, Alex was fairly close to Leclerc in F3, and they drove for the same team.

            It is very hard to rate drivers. Unsure how you judge what Alex’s level is. His stint at Red Bull was just terrible timing both in terms of car and experience. A bad car, a very strong teammate and no experience – worst possible scenario. Even if the driver was a future WC, those situations are suboptimal.

            At Williams he had bigger gaps to Latifi than Russell had, even though part of it can be explained by Latifi being poor than usual as he admitted.

            I find it very hard to rate Alex personally, and conversely Logan.

            I believe Logan needs more time to judge both him and Albon as a teammate pairing.

          2. @esploratore1 while getting a serious beating by Albon isn’t a good look for Sargeant, T does have a point. Sargeant and Piastri have driven together in a number of series and before F2 they were pretty close.

            – 2017 British F4: Piastri ended 2nd, Sargeant 3rd, not that far apart
            – 2018 Formula Renault: Sargeant ended 4th, Piastri eighth with half the points of Sargeant
            – 2020 F3: Piastri champion, Sargeant third, 4 points difference. 2 wins each, Sargeant terribly unlucky at times (Monza race 2, Mugello race 2 for example) or he could have easily taken that title.

            But then Piastri was put in a Prema seat in F2 whereas Sargeant struggled to join a decent option in 2021.

            He really did better in his junior career than “he didn’t prove himself in lower category”.

        3. Even in his first season, I mean; would really like an edit button.

    2. Well Yuki might have been inconsistent, but he definitely had some great performances in his first season. So I don’t see a comparison between him and Logan.

  2. Stroll is happy that Sargeant is around.. he didn’t receive the worst thrashing by his teammate this season.

  3. I mean you always want to give a rookie some time to adjust, but honestly it’s clear from the stats, Sargeant isn’t it. He’s never going to be it. And that’s fine. Find a new driver for next year, there’s no reason to keep middle of the road drivers around for multiple years.

    My biggest problem with F1 right now is the complete lack of cutthroat descision making. Everything’s so corporate now. “Give them time” was never a thing. You get in the car and you better show the boss you can make it go quick. The only time bad drivers got to keep their seat was if they handed the team boss a big check every time they stepped into the garage. Otherwise if you weren’t performing you’d be out.

    Waiting around for a driver to become decent even though everyone already knows it’s not going to happen is just stupid. If Red Bull can take a lot of crap for being too “ruthless” than the likes of Williams and Aston Martin should get it for being too meek. Put champions in your cars, not the guy that barely got P4.

    1. @sjaakfoo I’m sure Sargeant brings money for his seat, so Williams aren’t going to jetison him unless someone comes along who is has significantly more talent or significantly deeper pockets…

    2. I may not be remembering this right, I haven’t looked it up to check, but my recollection is:

      During my time watching F1, most drivers have been given at least a season to prove themselves as rookies. Many have been given significantly more than that. It’s nothing new.

      Also, many have been pay drivers, who didn’t finish that well in the lower categories but have serious money behind them. This isn’t new either.

    3. Part of this is the result of the superlicense point scheme. There aren’t that many drivers teams can choose from.

      Many drivers in series that award significant points don’t want to race in F1 (anymore); why would a guy like Conway, Buemi, Dixon, or Newgarden want to muck around in a midfield also ran when they’re race winners in the WEC or Indycar?

      As it stands, teams can hire either former F1 drivers who failed to get a contract or a leftover F2 driver that is not locked into a long term junior deal with a rival team.

    4. There’s a significant difference in days of old and rookies of today. They had unlimited testing days to get miles and miles under the belt in the equipment they went racing in. Before and during the season between races.

  4. Coventry Climax
    10th August 2023, 14:50

    If this shows anything, it’s that F2 delivers drivers that aren’t up to it.
    Talent wise, preparation wise or both. FR3.5 did a better job, in my opinion.
    I want to see a new driver sink or swim. That’s how it used to be and that’s how it should be.
    F1 has become a prep school, which is a stupid role for the pinnacle of motorsport.

    1. More than anything, it’s the conveyor belt aspect of F2 – the winner is forced to move on, even if they fluke the championship or win in a year when the quality of the field is dismal.

      They should either copy W-Series and say that if a driver stays in the series after winning it, any license points (and possibly the title) are forfeit or allow the winner to stay on *at most* another season, to allow them to defend the title whilst they prospect F1 teams for a seat – then, if they get resoundly beaten the next year, they probably weren’t all that to begin with!

      1. I agree that the ban on a championship winner returning to F2 isn’t right the way things stand. If there were good promotion prospects, it would make sense, but as things stand we’ve seen people doing what they can not to win, because they know there’s no seat available in F1. Winning an F2 championship is often a death-knell for a driver’s dreams in the upper echelons of motorsport. They’re better off finishing 2nd/3rd for a few seasons and hoping they catch the eye of an F1 team than finishing first and having to settle for a career in the lower tiers for ever.

    2. The problem isn’t F2, the ploblem is rushing a driver that wasn’t even a championship contender only because he’s american. F2 produced many great drivers in recent years (Norris, Russell, Leclerc, etc) and some other good names (Albon, Tsunoda, etc).

  5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    10th August 2023, 14:59

    I think it’s too early to tell – clearly Albon is a very different driver than he was when he joined Red Bull and is proving his ability. Logan has 1/6 the number of races under his belt to Albon.

    1. The thing is, red bull albon is the worst version of him we’ve seen, he was already a decent midfield driver before joining red bull and now is that again, possibly a bit better.

      Even so, not impressed by sargeant at all, he should be closer.

  6. I suspect the pressure to perform is causing his rookie errors. He was unlucky to have his lap deleted in Saudi and then with the extra pressure he put on himself mistakes crept in. If he can settle himself and come back stronger after the summer break he might get another season to prove himself.

    Albon has come back stronger since his time out of F1 and Williams is a good place for him to grow. Seargant will be fine if has the underlying pace and just needs to relax. If he doesn’t have the pace I guess that will become clear by the end of the season.

  7. It is simple: Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and there are only 20 spots. Is Logan Sargent one of the top 30 race car drivers in the world? No. So here’s there due to PR and money, regardless of his performance.

    1. PR & Money? Not really & he performed decently in F2 last year + is/was a Williams Academy Driver.

      1. Well let’s be honest Logan is only in F1 because he is American, not that that is a bad thing per se. But he doesn’t bring any significant budget in sponsorship as far as I know. He actually had to do an extra year in F3 because he couldn’t pay for an F2 seat – while he had definitely earned it with a second place in the F3 championship. I think Logan deserves this chance in F1 and I think the stats are making him look worse than some of the race craft he has shown in some races – so let’s see if he can come up with some good results after this summer break.

        1. Nothing to do with nationality, but I’m sure he’ll improve over time, which is something rookies in F1 generally need with limited on-track testing & most importantly, he quickly proved an improvement from Latifi, which was the minimum pre-season expectation.

  8. The rumour in the IndyCar paddock, per Marshall Pruett, is that Zak Brown is willing to loan Alex Palou to Williams next year, should they want to replace Sargeant.

    1. That isn’t going to happen, not only because Sargeant is clearly in Williams’ long-term plans, so only in extreme scenarios would he get sacked after only a single season, not to mention the days of independent teams serving others are a past thing.

      1. Don’t see it happening over Sargeant’s performance, either. But an amusing tidbit, if true, into Brown’s thinking. It seems he’s willing to do almost anything to deprive Ganassi of Palou’s services even if it means losing him to another F1 midfield outfit.

      2. @jerejj The real reason it isn’t going to happen is Palou is not going to be a McLaren driver next season

  9. I hope Sargeant comes home to an opportunity in IndyCar. His F1 opportunity seemed to come too soon for him and his results have showed as much.

    1. No one expected him to match Albon anyway & he did decently well in F2 to deserve a chance, not to mention rookies (except De Vries) need time because of how limited on-track testing is in F1.
      For this season, the minimum expectation was that he fares better than Latifi, which he quickly met, but next season would be another matter.

  10. Everyone knows Sargeant wasn’t ready for F1, he clearly needed another season. Drugovich was mature enough for a seat, but he wasn’t american.

    1. Nothing to do with nationality & if Williams (or any other team) were truly interested in Drugovich, they would’ve offered him before he joined AM rather than prioritized Sargeant over everyone else.

  11. ”no better than his predecessor did”
    Had I noticed this part the first time, I would’ve responded before but a misleading reference because, in reality, he’s fared better, especially when putting final results aside, & quickly proved an improvement when the season began, so letting Latifi go in favor of him was ultimately right move because he was holding the team back a lot last season.

Comments are closed.