Williams team principal James Vowles hopes Logan Sargeant will “surprise the world” with his performances in F1 2024, after earning a second year with the team.
Sargeant endured a 100 per cent record of qualifying defeats against Alex Albon in his rookie year and scored one point compared to 27 for his team-mate, leading to speculation over his future.
Vowles opted to keep him in the seat for another year however, after being impressed with his late-season performances at Williams – and has called on him to show F1 fans around the world why he put his faith in him.
James Vowles: Logan Sargeant ‘very much a more confident person’ ahead of F1 2024
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
The American driver spoke himself about his off-season routine that has seen him gain 5kg in weight ahead of the new season, as he tries to make himself as fit and prepared as possible to take on the longest F1 calendar ever.
Vowles explained that the upgrades on last season’s Williams predominantly went on Albon’s car as the year progressed due to the team putting most of their resources into the FW46, their 2024 challenger.
As a result, he believes the gaps seen between the two drivers were not as large as they looked at times – and the Williams team boss went into detail about what has changed for Sargeant heading into this year.
“First and foremost, I’ve asked him to surprise the world in terms of his physical fitness, his approach and his performance,” Vowles said to media including PlanetF1.com when asked about what benchmarks have been set for Sargeant this season.
“We’ve changed quite a bit with him across the winter period; his training mechanisms and programme is completely different behind the scenes.
“Already, you should see he’s very much a more confident person, and he carries that well.
“There will be a reset. It’s very hard for racing drivers across this period when they finish the last race and it’s early December and then start again in late February to be right on the money straightaway – he won’t be.
“What I’ve asked him to do is to approach the first few days driving the car with caution again, the same way he did at the end of the year, build up into it and don’t try and rush into success and don’t be disappointed if success doesn’t come to you immediately.
“That’s the confidence I place in him. That’s why he’s back in the car, and that openness to it, that discussion even provides him an arena where he knows he can start pushing himself and the team around him in order to get success out of it.
“At the end of the year, I was pretty open about this, perhaps midway through the year, his car wasn’t in the same specs of Alex.
“We were running out of bits because I was putting our focus in 2024. I didn’t want to spend time building new bits, I want to spend time building next year’s success, and the result of that is that he was slightly down on performance.
“So at times where the world thought he was really underperforming, it wasn’t as offset as people felt.
“At the end of the year, when they were on the same equipment, he started to fall right back into where I needed him to be – and what I’ve asked him to do is that momentum needs to continue.
“I need him now in the winter to not go back to his old ways of driving, where he’s trying to extract too much from himself and the car too quickly, but rather approach things progressively.
“We should have a car that is more suiting to both drivers, hoping that we’ve got rid of some of these really nasty effects from last year, but then we’ll also make a platform for him where he should be able to grow much quicker than he did in ’23.”