Sargeant concerned by “extremely strong pace” of upgraded AlphaTauri

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In the round-up: Logan Sargeant is encouraged by the pace of Williams over the first day of running in Abu Dhabi

In brief

Sargeant keen to ‘make AlphaTauri’s life difficult’

After the opening day of running in Abu Dhabi, Sargeant says he expects quite a battle with AlphaTauri on Sunday. The two teams are locked in a battle for seventh place in the constructors’ championship and AlphaTauri has brought a floor upgrade for the final round of the season.

“I think it’s going to be tricky,” he said. “I think AlphaTauri seem to have extremely strong pace both in low fuel and high fuel.

“But I think our high fuel pace is good, at least a good enough to challenge and make their life a little bit more difficult. But I feel like we need to find some pace on low fuel.”

Doohan on F2 pole, Pourchaire 14th

Formula 2 championship leader Theo Pourchaire will start in 14th place on the grid for both races in the final round at Yas Marina as Jack Doohan secured pole for Sunday’s feature race.

Victor Martins was on provisional pole position ahead of the final runs of the session until Ayumu Iwasa – who required the bonus points for pole to stay alive in the championship battle – went fastest. However, Doohan went quicker by three tenths to take pole for the feature race with Martins improving into second and Kush Maini third.

Iwasa was eliminated from championship contention, with only remaining contender Frederik Vesti taking ninth on the grid and, with it, pole for today’s sprint race.

F1’s esports opener under question

The supposed season-opener of the official Formula 1 affiliated esports series is under a cloud with many questions over whether the event will take place.

The F1 Sim Racing World Championship – the new identity for the F1 Esports Series Pro Championship – was supposed to kick off last night in a live event in Sweden. However, the event never took place amid rumours that the event organisation was in turmoil.

In a now-deleted social media post, Mercedes esports racer Marcel Kiefer described the situation as a “massive disrespect to all drivers, teams, organisers, game publishers and fans.”

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Comment of the day

With F1 looking at tweaking its sprint race format yet again in 2024,should it consider reverse grids? No way, says Lynn-m:

The thing with reverse grids is that while it would likely generate a lot of ‘action’, it would all feel contrived and, at the end of the day, meaningless.

We wouldn’t be seeing genuine overtaking between cars of similar pace battling for a genuine position but simply the fast cars somewhat easily getting by the slower ones that they aren’t really fighting.

It’s like that sprint race at Interlagos in 2021 with Lewis Hamilton coming from the back. Yes, a lot of passing for the stat books that had the reverse grid fans screaming about how amazing it was and proved why reverse grids are a must – but at the end of the day which one of those ‘overtakes’ was actually that interesting? It was just a lot of passing for the sake of action rather than the sort of great battling and overtaking that’s actually exciting and memorable. Not to mention how sprint race results never feel as worthwhile or earned as those from the standard race.

Just look at F2/F3 over the years where there have been drivers who have only ever won the reverse grid races and nobody ever talks about those wins because they won not due to been fastest but because they finished/qualified further down the order.

Reverse grid races are nothing more than the most contrived and worst gimmick in the sport which the pinnacle of the sport shouldn’t ever lower itself to adopting.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Matt Aitch, Sozavele and Swapnil Aman!

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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7 comments on “Sargeant concerned by “extremely strong pace” of upgraded AlphaTauri”

  1. I asked a fraiend to list me the reasons to try out reverse grids.

    1. **Increased Entertainment:** Reverse grids could create more unpredictable races, adding excitement and entertainment for fans.

    2. **Overtaking Opportunities:** Starting slower cars at the front may provide more opportunities for overtaking and dynamic racing throughout the grid.

    3. **Fairness:** Some argue that reverse grids could level the playing field and reduce the dominance of a few top teams, making the competition more fair and open.

    4. **Strategy Variety:** It introduces a different strategic element, as teams would need to adapt their race strategies based on their starting positions.

    5. **Fan Engagement:** More unpredictable races could attract and retain a larger audience, increasing fan engagement with the sport.

    But of course many in the F1 community, including drivers and teams, have reservations about implementing this format due to concerns about the core principles of the sport and the impact on competitive integrity.

    1. But of course many in the F1 community, including drivers and teams, have reservations about implementing this format due to concerns about the core principles of the sport and the impact on competitive integrity.

      And should be swiftly reminded that that is what Sundays are for.
      F1 runs both – and they have something for everyone, and everything for some. Wins all ’round.

  2. Alpha Tauri may seem a difficult challenge for Williams.
    However, the points advantage should be enough under normal circumstances as gaining more than 7 points on them is effectively impossible without several DNFs or DNSs among the top 5 teams.

    I wonder who’s the person in Alex Wurz’s left as I atruggle to recoggnize her?

    COTD makes a valid point about reverse-grid format.

    1. GDPA director Anastasia Fowle.

  3. I remember back in 2021, when Sprint couldn’t by any means be considered as a “race”, that would hurt the die-hard fans’ hearts because there’s only one race per weekend. And don’t even think of reverse grids, that’s a Deadly Sin, blah, blah.

    I remember how “successful” Liberty Media told us the Sprint was in 2021. But they made a major overhaul for 2022. And again they told us how good it was in 2022, but they had to make another major overhaul just two days prior to the first Sprint in 2023 (with that ridiculous new-softs-for-SQ3 bug in the regulations caused by the hurry). And again they tell us the Sprint is a great addition to F1… but they will be changing it again.

    Now, there’s no problem with 2 races, there’s no problem with reverse grids, there’s no problem with even make another separate championship.

    Liberty Media fooled us the way they wanted during these three years. They put on display absurd formats in order too make us keener with these new formats for 2024 and beyond that would be considered utterly unacceptable three years ago.

    I’m so tired with Liberty having to do this stuff because we the fans are stvpid lambs that have to be slowly directed towards the goal.

    Sprint is mere greed. Period. You can say what you want, change the format every year and sell it like you are creating The Greatest Show on Earth. We know it’s pure greed. And you know we know it. So please, stop considering us stvpid lambs.

  4. The only way Sargeant is going to make life difficult for anyone is by crashing in front of them.

  5. Hi @RaceFansWill

    As a big fan of F2 and as this publication has long been titled RaceFans and not merely F1 Fanatic, I feel it would have been more appropriate to give the round-up on F2 its own headlined article with a lot more detailing of the nail-biting finale this weekend is going to be. Although Pourchaire has a 25 point lead over Vesti, his championship-contenting nerves got the better of him yesterday in qualifying leaving him to start 14th in both the sprint and feature races, whereas Vesti will start 9th for Sunday’s feature race and reverse-grid 2nd for today’s sprint race (Enzo Fittipaldi is on pole), giving the Dane the opportunity to overhaul a lot of points over the Frenchman this weekend.

    I think it’s a great shame that most fans are missing out on the excitement of F2 and F3. A bit more promotion from you guys would be great for the sport. It would introduce to fans the stars of the future well before they reach F1, broadening their understanding of their journey from karting to the pinnacle of motorsport. For fans of racecraft, on any given weekend, the F2 and F3 races are very often much more exciting to watch than the counterpart races for F1.

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