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American Logan Sargeant Heads Into 2nd F1 Season Stronger, Hopes to Deliver for Williams

February 28, 2024

Even before Logan Sargeant finished his rookie Formula 1 season, a set of expectations were given to the American on what he needed to do to keep his ride at Williams.

It still took until December for Williams to confirm Sargeant would get a second season. He was the last driver finalized for this year’s 20-car grid.

But he enters the new season — it starts this weekend in Bahrain — already ahead of schedule.

“First and foremost, I’ve asked him to surprise the world in terms of his physical fitness, his approach and his performance,” Williams team principal James Vowles said. “We’ve changed quite a bit with him across the winter period, his trainer is different, his training programs are completely different. You should see he’s a much more confident person and he carries that well.”

Sargeant delivered on Vowles’ ask by adding a little more than 11 pounds to his frame during the offseason — muscle that should help the Floridian with car handling a year after he was consistently outperformed by teammate Alex Albon.

Sargeant scored just one point all of last year and it didn’t come until the U.S. Grand Prix, five races before the end of the season. Albon, meanwhile, scored 27 points across the season and was ranked 13th in the final driver standings.

“I wasn’t physically in the place I need to be and I’ve done everything I can to get on top of that. For example, I’m five kilos heavier than I was at the end of last year, and I feel much more healthy and much more ready to go,” Sargeant said. “I feel like a different man, I feel like physically I am in the best shape I’ve ever been. And I believe in the condition I’m in now, and will continue to get to, will be simply just helping me feel more comfortable in the car and extract performance.”

Sargeant is the first American to race in F1 since Alexander Rossi in 2015 and his underwhelming rookie season did little to build a fanbase in the lucrative United States market that hosted a series-high three races last year.

But Williams last year had a car that was difficult to drive and both he and Albon were forced to adapt. Albon believes this year’s FW46 will be easier for Sargeant to handle.

“Logan will have that experience now into this year, I don’t think it’ll be so much of a learning curve for him,” Albon said. “I personally believe that the car’s going to be a bit easier to drive. Our car was very unique. I spent two years refining a very strange driving style, which for someone coming into the car for the first time, without any prior F1 experience, is difficult.

“It was very easy to overdrive the car. I think naturally the car’s going to go towards him as in a bit less on a knife edge and more usable,” Albon continued. “So I think what you’re going to see is a guy with a lot more experience and a car that should be more usable and that will in itself bring performance.”

Vowles agreed that this year’s car should help both Albon and Sargeant as Williams tries to become competitive again.

“We should have a car that is more suiting to both drivers,” Vowles said. “I’m hoping that we’ve got rid of some of these really nasty effects from last year, but that will also make a platform for him where he should be able to grow much quicker than he did in 2023.”

Vowles has also tried to relieve some of the pressure on Sargeant by telling him to follow the same guidelines that helped him earn a second season with Williams.

“What I’ve asked him to do is to approach the first few days of driving the car with caution again, the same way he did at the end of last year, build up into it and don’t try and rush into success,” Vowles said. “That’s the confidence I placed in him. That’s why he’s back in the car. I need him now to not go back to his old ways of trying to extract too much from himself and from the car too quickly, but rather approach things progressively.”

Sargeant goes into this year much more confident after a season that he admitted took a physical toll on him. He needed the extra work as F1 prepares for a record 24 races this year.

“The offseason has been such a good opportunity for me to take a step back and look at myself from mental, emotional and physical standpoint where I need to do improve, where I need to get better,” Sargeant said. “I learned that I need to manage myself much better. I let myself get very drained throughout the season and I let that affect me off the track, which ultimately brings it onto the track.”

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By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer

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