Sargeant closes on Williams race seat with solid Austin F1 debut

Logan Sargeant strengthened his claim to a 2023 Williams Formula 1 drive with a faultless FP1 debut in Austin, calling his first F1 outing "very different than what I expected".

Sargeant closes on Williams race seat with solid Austin F1 debut

The American is favourite to replace Nicholas Latifi in a Williams race seat next year, and paddock sources have indicated he could be announced as early as Saturday.

However, to be guaranteed the 2023 race drive he will first have to secure his superlicence by finishing in the top five of the F2 championship after the Abu Dhabi finale.

He currently lies third, but several drivers are close behind him in the table, and he could tumble down the order if he has a bad weekend.

If he is announced by Williams this weekend, it would have to be with the proviso that he still needs to get the licence.

The team is also understood to have explored Plan Bs should Sargeant miss out on the necessary licence points, with Mick Schumacher and Antonio Giovinazzi among the possible options.

Sargeant completed 23 trouble-free laps in FP1, and did a practice start on the grid.

He finished the session in 19th place, ahead of Giovinazzi, who crashed his Haas early on. He was 1.9 seconds off team-mate Alex Albon.

"A lot different than what I expected, to be honest,” he said of his experience after the session. “The way that the car reacts compared to what I'm used to in F2 is massively different.

"Super reactive in the high-speed, and so good on the brakes. But yeah, in general, it was a good run. And I learned a lot.

"I was pretty shocked by how much power it had as well at the start, so something to get used to. And it was tricky out there."

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW44

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW44

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

He added: "I think the main goal coming into today was just to learn as much as possible. And I feel like I did pick up on a lot, very different to what I honestly expected, but in a good way.

“A lot of potential to still pick up on and improve on, but I think it was a good start and happy with how it went.

"I think most important now is to go back, debrief, pick up on as much information as I can, and give them as good a feedback as possible. And yeah, I'd say it was a good day in the office."

Asked about his future plans, he was coy about his prospects for the Williams seat.

"Honestly, I'm not sure. As you know, I need to have a good Abu Dhabi to secure my superlicence," Sargeant said.

"And that's the main focus at the moment. And it's to go out there and have a good round, and solidify myself in the top three in the championship."

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