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  • Reese Mautone

Sargeant Sidelined As Damaged Albon Inherits Remaining Chassis For The Australian Grand Prix



Due to Alex Albon’s Free Practice 1 accident, Williams have confirmed that, with a third chassis unavailable, the team has taken the decision for Albon to compete for the remainder of the weekend with Logan Sargeant’s chassis, forcing the American onto the sidelines in Melbourne.


During FP1, Alex Albon near-recreated the incident that took him out of last year’s Australian Grand Prix, bottoming out at Turn 7 and storming straight towards the wall on his right.


After taking heavy frontal contact which saw the entire front wing and right front wheel of his Williams destroyed, the car then headed for the other side of the track.


Still at speed, the #23 Williams was spat into the wall at Turn 8, with the rear of the car slamming into the wall putting a lot more than his gearbox in jeopardy.


The Thai driver was forced to sit out of FP2, with the team hoping for the best, but discovering the  worst after a detailed inspection of the FW46.


Coming into the season opener, Williams already had quantity concerns, with an accident like the one today turning those concerns into reality.


Alex Albon accesses the damage after his FP1 crash

Williams released a statement confirming their decision tonight:


“Following Alex Albon’s accident during FP1 at the Australian Grand Prix, Williams Racing confirms that due to the extensive damage sustained, it is forced to withdraw the chassis for the remainder of the Grand Prix,” the statement read.


“This chassis will be returned to the team’s HQ at Grove for repair.


“Due to the fact that a third chassis is unavailable, the team can confirm it has taken the decision for Alex to compete for the remainder of the weekend in the chassis that Logan Sargeant drove in FP1 and FP2.”


Williams Team Principal James Vowles has said the team is “hugely disappointed” to be forced to make the decision to sideline Sargeant, adding that it is “unacceptable in modern day Formula 1 not to have a spare chassis”.


“It is a reflection of how behind we were in the winter period and an illustration of why we need to go through significant change in order to get ourselves in a better position for the future,” Vowles said.


“As a result, we have had some very difficult decisions to make this afternoon.


Williams Team Principal James Vowles adresses the media at the Australian Grand Prix

“While Logan should not have to suffer from a mistake that he did not make, every race counts when the midfield is tighter than ever, so we have made the call based on our best potential to score points this weekend.


“This decision was not made lightly, and we cannot thank Logan enough for his graceful acceptance, demonstrating his dedication to the team; he is a true team player.


“This will prove a tough weekend for Williams, and this situation is not one that we will put ourselves in again."


Albon was also not shy in expressing his gratitude towards his teammate, setting out to achieve the best result possible to make up for this hiccup in Williams' history.


"I have to be totally honest and say that no driver would want to give up his seat,” the #23 said.


“I would never want anything like this to happen.


The aftermath of Albon's Turn 7 crash at Albert Park


“Logan has always been a consummate professional and a team player from day one, and this won't be an easy one for him to take.


"At this point though, I cannot dwell on the situation and my only job now is to maximise our potential this weekend and work with the whole team to make sure we do the best job possible.”


Logan Sargeant made it clear that the decision was well out of his hands, however, preparing to play the role of team player this weekend.


“This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career and it's absolutely not easy,” the American said.


“I am however completely here for the team and will continue to contribute in any way that I can this weekend to maximise what we can do.”


Free Practice 3 at the Australian Grand Prix will start at 12:30 PM, with a 19-car grid continuing on for the remainder of the weekend.

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