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Ex-F1 driver questions Williams’ driver swap decision

Williams made a difficult decision at the Australian Grand Prix when it replaced Logan Sargeant with Alex Albon after the latter crashed his car.

Sargeant Australia
To news overview © XPBimages

Ex-Formula 1 driver Jolyon Palmer has questioned Williams’ decision to replace Logan Sargeant with Alex Albon in Australia, stating it was “the wrong move”.

Albon suffered a heavy crash during the first free practice session at the Albert Park Circuit with his chassis judged to be unusable for the remainder of the event.

With no spare chassis available, Willams Team Principal James Vowles opted to withdraw Sargeant from the weekend and replace him with Albon.

Although Albon has been the stronger performer of the pair during their time together, Palmer disagreed with Williams’ decision.

“The decision to put Alex into Logan Sergeant’s car was a difficult one for Williams, one that James Vowles said was the toughest decision he’s had to make – and I don’t doubt that, but I believe it was the wrong move,” he wrote in his column for F1.com.

“Let’s break it down. Firstly, would Albon have been the stronger driver for the weekend? Logically yes, given his form over last season and this compared to Sargeant.

“But he did miss out on 34 laps on Friday compared to his team-mate, the equivalent to a session and a half. He also did no Friday qualifying simulation runs or race running, unlike Logan.”

‘Sargeant has a point to prove to his team’

Sargeant was brought on board by Williams for the 2023 season after spending a year in its driver academy.

Following a challenging rookie campaign Sargeant had to wait until after the end of the season to learn his fate over a 2024 drive.

Palmer has backed Sargeant to recover from the disappointment but highlighted that it will take time.

“If Vowles does still think that Albon would have been stronger despite that, then it begs the question: why did they re-sign Sargeant for 2024 if they have such little confidence in him?

“The season is long and there’s plenty of recovery time for the team and for Logan Sergeant, but to see your car being stripped and set up for your team-mate must take some getting over, no matter how magnanimous he was in public.

“More than ever now though, the American has a point to prove. Not just to the media and the watching world, but to his own team.”

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