Logan Sargeant, Williams, Suzuka, 2023

2023 Formula 1 driver rankings #21: Logan Sargeant

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On the face of it, Logan Sargeant likely achieved all of the goals he could have realistically set himself for his rookie campaign in Formula 1.

Keep his race seat until the end of the season? Check. First American driver in three decades to score a world championship point? Check. Secure a contract extension for 2024? Check. Help Williams to their best championship finishing position since 2017? Check.

But Sargeant is an intelligent, contemplative kind of character. He knows full well that the fact he’ll be on the grid in March makes him the luckiest driver in the field – because he could have had no complaints if Williams had chosen against a second season of the Logan Sargeant experience.

It had all started so promisingly in Bahrain. You only get one grand prix debut and Sargeant made a genuinely strong start to his Formula 1 career. He just missed out on a Q2 berth at the very first attempt, with an identical lap time to Lando Norris, then gained three places over his first racing lap in F1. He ran a similar pace to team mate Alexander Albon and finished a very respectable 12th after not making any errors of note. But keeping that excellent first race momentum over the early phase of the season proved to be just too difficult for the young rookie.

Logan Sargeant, Williams, Bahrain, 2023
Strong debut performance was a high point
He should have secured his first Q2 appearance the next round in Jeddah but for a silly error running outside the white lines on the run to the line on his fastest qualifying lap rendering it null and void. While Albon was fighting for points in Melbourne, Sargeant spent the Australian Grand Prix near the back and was lucky not to earn a penalty for taking out Nyck de Vries at the final restart.

Over the bulk of the season, Sargeant appeared to be putting the ‘rookie’ back into ‘rookie mistakes’. He crashed out of sprint qualifying in Baku and missed the sprint race as a result. He ruined his home grand prix in Miami by damaging his front wing on the opening lap in a clumsy incident with Lance Stroll. He made multiple errors during the Monaco Grand Prix – albeit his first ever experience of a Formula 1 car in wet conditions – then crashed in practice in Barcelona. He had a spin at the Hungaroring chicane late in the race, then aquaplaned off the road in practice at Spa-Francorchamps to give his mechanics more repair work to do.

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Despite having a summer break to recharge and refocus, the errors did not stop. He appeared to have made a breakthrough when the field reconvened in Zandvoort by reaching Q3 for the first time ever, only to misjudge his entry into second corner on a damp track and pitch his car into the barriers. The next day, he found himself in the tyre wall once more – although Williams excused this for being the result of a hydraulics problem. While Albon picked up solid points at Monza, a track that Williams were expected to be strong at all season, Sargeant could not back up his team mate after earning a penalty for a clash with Valtteri Bottas.

Logan Sargeant

GP start620 (x6)
GP finish1020 (x2)

By this stage, the 22-year-old rookie was the only driver to have started the season who was yet to have score a point. On the other side of the garage, Albon had 21.

Small errors continued to define Sargeant’s season. He was knocked out of Q1 in Singapore with another mistake on his final push lap, then hit the wall during the race, damaging his front wing. Japan was another torrid weekend. He destroyed his car in qualifying by slipping off the road on the run to the line and then made a very poor move on Bottas at the hairpin in the race, hitting the Alfa Romeo driver and effectively ending his race. Although he spun out of the sprint race, no one could blame him for withdrawing from the extreme Qatar Grand Prix conditions after he had arrived into the weekend battling an illness.

At this point, it looked like Sargeant’s F1 career was in dire straits. As he arrived in Texas for the United States Grand Prix, he was in desperate need of a good result. But despite more frustration over Friday and Saturday, Sargeant finally enjoyed a strong grand prix and made his way through the field up to finishing in 12th after running within eight seconds of Albon throughout the race. Then, as he flew back home to Florida, he learned that Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc had both been disqualified from the results due to excessive plank wear – meaning he had officially scored his first ever world championship point.

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Logan Sargeant, Williams, Circuit of the Americas, 2023
Post-US GP disqualifications elevated Sargeant into the points
That stroke of good fortune seemed to spur him on over the final four rounds of the season. Although he suffered a 10-place grid drop due to a yellow flag infringement in qualifying in Mexico, he again made progress up the field in the race until he was forced into retire with a fuel pump problem. He put in another solid weekend’s work in Brazil and just missed out on a second point in 11th, before he had his best qualifying of the season in Las Vegas to delight his team principal James Vowles.

The final grand prix of the season in Abu Dhabi summed up Sargeant’s rookie campaign. He failed to keep his car within the white lines in qualifying and was eliminated from Q1 without a single valid lap on the board. But in the grand prix, he executed his team’s game plan to hold up Daniel Ricciardo in their battle to hold onto seventh in the constructors’ championship and showed more of that improved race pace he had slowly built up over the season.

The fact that Sargeant has retained his seat for 2024 is a remarkable gesture of good faith on behalf of Williams and its team principal. But while he has shown that he has the capability to deliver the kinds of drives his team need from him when he gets everything together, he needs to invest all his time in the winter on eliminating those unacceptable errors for his second season. If not, America will not have a Formula 1 driver for much longer.

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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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10 comments on “2023 Formula 1 driver rankings #21: Logan Sargeant”

  1. My bet is that Williams didn’t bother to replace him for next season because they will get Andrea Kimi Antonelli for 2025 anyways, as Mercedes will be keen to give him a seat soon to not repeat the same mistake of Alpine with Oscar Piastri.

  2. A rookie needs to show signs of progress in their first season. Look at Piastri. Sargeant did not. Remarkable that he has kept his seat.

    As I’ve said before I think there is more family money keeping him in the sport than anyone would like to admit – but also there are no prospects in F2 that anyone wants to take a risk on.

  3. Not sure how much he helped Williams to their best constructor’s finish since 2017 since the point he scored made no difference to where they finished.

  4. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    11th December 2023, 19:31

    Not sure how he held onto his seat.

    1. Any of the F2 top 3 this year would have made a more interesting prospect for Williams than Sargeant, but why take a chance when you can settle for the lowest of mediocre.

      1. Correction; the lowest of mediocre with a large sack of money.

        In seriousness though, it is a bad sign for Williams, a team that supposedly is trying to bring itself back to the top, that they still can’t get their finances figured out without at least one pay driver even with the budget cap.

  5. Absolute seat waster

  6. Ranking him the second-lowest is understandable when considering the entire field & while he certainly didn’t set the world on fire, neither was he a total flop, so giving him a second season is justified, especially as some drivers with comparatively worse rookie seasons have got more than a single season + rookies generally need time with limited on-track testing.
    Of course, next season with higher expectations because of not being a rookie anymore means he indeed needs to eliminate certain unforced errors (such as going wholly over white lines on flying qualifying laps, which indeed happened in Abu Dhabi, but technically not in Jeddah) & be more consistent overall.

  7. There have been worse rookies than him that have been signed for another season.. Mazepin comes to mind. Its besides the point that he was replaced before the next season.

    I’d like to have seen Drugovich on the grid next year… as he has more potential than Logan. My guess is that Logan will get dropped halfway through the season if he doesn’t show enough improvement and Felipe will take his place.

  8. Andrea Kimi Antonelli is the only reason Williams has kept him around for another year.

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