Alex Albon-Logan Sargeant swap branded “brutal, a public vote of no confidence”

“It’s brutal, it’s ruthless, it’s a public vote of no confidence in Logan Sargeant"

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing FW46. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park,
Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing FW46. Formula 1 World Championship,…

James Vowles admitted it is “unacceptable” that Williams did not bring a spare chassis to the F1 Australian Grand Prix.

Alex Albon’s shunt in Friday practice at Melbourne ruled his car out of the rest of the weekend.

But Williams chose to withdraw his teammate Logan Sargeant, and let Albon continue in their one remaining car.

“It’s brutal, it’s ruthless, it’s a public vote of no confidence in Logan Sargeant who is a nice young guy,” Craig Slater reported on Sky.

“Does he deserve it? No. He didn’t wreck his car!

“Albon wrecked his, and gets given Sargeant’s car!

“But ‘deserve’ has nothing to do with it. This is James Vowles, the Williams team principal, thinking ‘what do I need to do, to give the team a chance of winning points?’

“‘I’ll put the guy in the car who won 27 points compared to Sargeant’s one point last season’.

“And who has been consistently better than Sargeant.

“It’s not just about two guys, it’s about 800-900 guys at the factory.

“It has hit Sargeant hard.”

Sargeant has said: “This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career and it’s absolutely not easy.

“I am, however, completely here for the team and will continue to contribute in any way that I can this weekend to maximise what we can do.”

Slater reported that the incident is embarrassing to Williams.

“Yes it is,” he said. “To only have two chassis? Sargeant spun his car, they might have ended up with no cars for the rest of the weekend!

“They have talked about their lack of resources, saying they need extra capital expenditure, out with the budget cap.

“They were late on the design of their car this year, to try and improve it as much as possible.”

Slater reported about team boss Vowles: “I think he feels embarrassed, and sorry for Sargeant.”

Vowles has said: “It’s unacceptable in modern-day Formula 1 not to have a spare chassis, but it is a reflection of how behind we were in the winter period and an illustration of why we need to go through significant change in order to get ourselves out in a better position for the future.

“As a result, we have some very difficult decisions to make this afternoon.”

Vowles added: “The midfield is so incredibly tight that a point or two or more may make the difference at the end of the season between being 10th or being 6th. The spread of our cars at the moment is milliseconds.

“And as much as it pains me to see a driver that through no fault of their own won't be racing on Sunday, I have to prioritise the team above all else.

“Logan has been tremendous. He's here to support the team in this regard. He's clearly very much hurting as a result of this decision but equally strong in as much as he knows the team above all else is the priority.”

Slater continued: “If you’ve got a tough call to make, he’s the best guy to do it.

“He was Mercedes’ strategist, used to making those knife-edge pitwall decisions.

“There will be zero sentiment.

“This reveals how ruthless Formula 1 is. It’s all about the lap times.

“In a season where the top five teams, with two cars each, will fill the top 10 positions, the remaining teams have to give themselves the best chance of getting those few points race-to-race.”

Vowles detailed how Williams found themselves in this situation: “As a result of the work that took place across the winter, we stressed the organisation to the absolute limit. We pushed everything as far as it could do.

“What it meant, as a result of that, is off the back end of being very late on some of the production, the spare chassis starts to move backwards.

“No team plans to come to an event without a spare chassis. In doing so you create risk. In the absolute best case it's uncomfortable, and in the worst case, one of the cars is not racing. And that's the situation we face today.

“We have to ensure that we never, ever put ourselves in that situation again going forward in the future. We are here to go racing, and to only have one car here on Saturday and Sunday simply isn't what we're built to do.”

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