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Sargeant's performances proved 'reticent' Vowles was wrong

James Vowles was initially skeptical about Logan Sargeant, but having seen the data he's convinced that Williams made the right decision to hire the rookie.

Logan Sargeant's recent performances have proven to an initially skeptical James Vowles that it was the right decision by Williams to hire the rookie. Sargeant was confirmed as a driver for Williams prior to Vowles taking on the job as Team Principal, replacing Jost Capito earlier this year. While he did not win the Formula 2 championship, Sargeant still placed a best position of fourth in his first full-season in the F1 support series. Vowles describes how he was initially 'reticent' about the American's ability to perform out of the box, but that was put to bed when he got through to Q2 and later finished 12th at the Bahrain Grand Prix. "From the first laps of testing, immediately you could see that the pace was there. I was a little bit reticent in wondering whether it would take him a little bit of time to get used to it," said Vowles. "The second aspect is, it’s his first grand prix. The pressure on your shoulders is enormous and he took it in his stride. He was three-wide through Turn 1. "Normally in your rookie race, that ends up in disaster and he just dealt with it, with enormous amounts of maturity, and from then onwards, and I'm sure as you'll see, throughout the year, he'll step forward."

Vowles: I was wrong and Williams were right

Vowles initially came across Sargeant while working at Mercedes as Chief Strategist scouting out future talent. The American was rated highly alongside McLaren driver and fellow rookie Oscar Piastri according to Vowles, after he took part in sessions in the Mercedes simulator. "He came to Mercedes as a sim evaluation [driver] and I was interested in looking at him because he had performance, especially when you go back to his Formula 3 performance in an average team. "He was there with Oscar [Piastri] and I rate Oscar also highly. At the time in Mercedes we had a good suite of drivers. So that was where my relationship with him ended." Sargeant and Piastri first crossed paths during their time racing in UAE Formula 4 in 2017, then latterly in Formula 3 in 2020 when the pair were teammates at Prema and the championship went down to the wire - the Australian pipping him to the title by four points. Another year in F3 after a failed move to US single seaters enabled Sargeant to stay on the F1 radar, before he was offered a chance to join Williams as a junior driver and move to F2. "Williams funded his Formula 2 career, so he is now salaried as a professional driver and Williams funded him because they had deep belief that he was the real deal," said Vowles. "My reticence came from the fact that prior to [F2] that it's difficult to really judge him. Now he's been in the car, I now have the ability to look at his data, and he is here on merit, and as a result of Williams investing correctly in him. "So it just shows you that my previous life I was wrong and Williams were right."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Monaco Grand Prix - Free Practice 2