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Albon could take over Sargeant's F1 car if crashed chassis is unrepairable

The Williams Formula 1 team will be down to one car for the Australian Grand Prix weekend if the chassis damaged in Alex Albon's practice crash is not repairable.

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW46

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Williams does not have a spare chassis on site but team principal James Vowles has confirmed that the option exists to switch Albon to Logan Sargeant’s car on Saturday, leaving the American on the sidelines.

Albon had a huge accident in FP1 in Albert Park, hitting a concrete wall with the right-hand side of the car at high speed before spearing across the track and striking the wall on the other side as well.

The team quickly confirmed that Albon, who was not injured in the impact, would sit out FP2.

It will now give the damaged chassis a thorough check via NDT [non-destructive testing] to determine if it can be repaired overnight under a curfew joker.

The call on whether or not to proceed with the work will be made on Friday evening after FP2.

“It was a fairly big accident,” Vowles told Autosport. “The engine is damaged, the gearbox is split in two, and the chassis is damaged.

“It's the worst you could have ever had. We do not have a third chassis here, that's correct. So now it's just whether we can repair this one.

“We have repair kits, fundamentally of those I'm not yet sure, because it's a very serious accident and with what happened on the front [right] corner.”

Alex Albon, Williams Racing

Alex Albon, Williams Racing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Vowles revealed that, if Albon’s chassis cannot be repaired, the call could be made for him to take over Sargeant’s car as the senior driver and the man most likely to score points at what is usually a race of high attrition.

“One point here will make the difference between sixth and 10th potentially in the championship, simple as that,” he said.

“It just depends. I want to see how FP2 is, I want to see how the car performs. I want to see what options we have available to us on the chassis here as well.”

If the call is made for Albon to use Sargeant’s chassis, the team will have to fit an engine and gearbox from the former’s own pool.

Vowles admitted Williams had taken a calculated risk in not having a spare chassis available for the early races of the season.

“We have been very open and transparent that we were pushing everything to the absolute limit across the winter to get where we are, and sacrifices had to be made,” he said.

“And one of the sacrifices, which is a risk that you take, is you bring a spare hopefully to round about round three. It pushed just away from that.

“And so what you're doing is suggesting that for this first part of the season, you can't have a major accident. And it has not paid off in these circumstances.”

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