How close is Logan Sargeant to getting his F1 superlicence?

Logan Sargeant will get another chance to edge closer to a Williams Formula 1 race seat in 2023 when he returns for practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday.

How close is Logan Sargeant to getting his F1 superlicence?

Williams confirmed over the United States Grand Prix weekend that so long as Sargeant gets an FIA superlicence, he will claim the second seat alongside Alex Albon for 2023.

The FIA made clear in its handling of Colton Herta's recent push for a superlicence that it will not make exceptions for those not meeting the criteria under its existing points system.

It means the pressure is on Sargeant to ensure he passes the 40-point threshold in the next couple of weeks, with his primary focus being on the Formula 2 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Sargeant currently sits on 28 points, accrued through his third-place finish in F3 in 2020 behind Oscar Piastri and Theo Pourchaire, worth 20 points; seven points for finishing seventh in F3 last year following his surprise return to the category with Charouz; and one for his FP1 outing in Austin.

Drivers who complete over 100km in an F1 practice session without any incidents or picking up any reprimands get an extra point towards their tally, making it a valuable pathway for those trying to secure a seat.

Sargeant also featured in Mexico and was always scheduled to take part in opening practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but his additional outing in Brazil was only revealed a few days ago. It came after the American fell just two laps short of the required 100km mileage during first practice in Mexico two weeks ago, meaning he didn't pick up the bonus point.

Although FP1 isn't a viable session for any young driver to do in Brazil due to the sprint race weekend format, which leaves just a 60-minute window to get the car ready for qualifying, the fact set-ups are locked in for FP2 has made the session largely redundant.

Yet it has opened the door for Williams to get Sargeant in the car without having a big impact on the full-time drivers' weekends, barring any incidents. With Interlagos being 4.309km long, Sargeant will need to rack up 24 laps through the session to get the bonus point.

Logan Sargeant, Carlin

Logan Sargeant, Carlin

Photo by: Williams

Assuming he gets a point in both Brazil and Abu Dhabi, Sargeant should take his tally up to 30 ahead of the final two races in Formula 2, which will remain make-or-break for his F1 hopes in 2023.

Sargeant sits third in the standings on 135 points, having seen the momentum built in the early summer with back-to-back feature race wins at Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring ultimately fade, with retirements in five of the last nine races. He is 29 points back from Pourchaire in second place, and has a gaggle of drivers close behind him ahead of the Yas Marina finale.

With 10 points required, Sargeant needs a top-six finish in F2 to clinch his superlicence. Enzo Fittipaldi currently sits P6, and is only nine points back from Sargeant on 126 points. Only 15 points cover the gap from Sargeant to Juri Vips in 10th, with every driver bar Fittipaldi that stands between them in the standings having won at least once in F2 this year.

But one factor that should ease a bit of the pressure on Sargeant is his clean licence record across F2 and F3. According to Appendix L of the FIA's International Sporting Code that details the superlicence requirements: "For the FIA Championships where a penalty points system is in place, any driver having competed in the whole championship without being given any penalty points will be granted an additional 2 points on top of his sporting results."

Sargeant is eligible for two points for a clean 2021 season in F3, and could also pick up another two bonus points if he sees out the F2 campaign without any incidents on his licence.

That could lift him as high as 34 points, which would mean a top-eight finish in the F2 standings would be enough to get the F1 seat.

Williams F1 boss Jost Capito said in Austin there were no concrete plans in place should Sargeant fail to get his superlicence, such is the team's confidence that he will reach the threshold.

But the stakes involved for Sargeant and the team will nevertheless make the F2 finale in Abu Dhabi one of the more intriguing races for what would otherwise appear to be a dead rubber weekend.

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