James Vowles had doubts about Logan Sargeant at first, but now that he has access to the data, he is confident that Williams made the correct choice by hiring the rookie.
James Vowles, who was first doubtful, has now been convinced by Logan Sargeant’s latest result that Williams made the correct choice in hiring the rookie.
Prior to Vowles coming over as Team Principal earlier this year, replacing Jost Capito, Sargeant was already announced as a racer for Williams.
Sargeant finished fourth overall in his first full season in the F1 support series even if he did not take home the Formula 2 championship.
When the American made it to Q2 and ended up placing 12th in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Vowles says he was first “reticent” about the American’s capacity for performing outside of the box. Nevertheless, that perspective was quickly erased.
“From the first laps of testing, immediately you could see that the pace was there. I was a little bit reticent in wondering whether it would take him a little bit of time to get used to it,” said Vowles.
“The second aspect is, it’s his first grand prix. The pressure on your shoulders is enormous and he took it in his stride. He was three-wide through Turn 1.
“Normally in your rookie race, that ends up in disaster and he just dealt with it, with enormous amounts of maturity, and from then onwards, and I’m sure as you’ll see, throughout the year, he’ll step forward.”
Vowles: I was mistaken, and Williams were correct
Vowles first met Sargeant while serving as Mercedes’ Chief Strategist and looking for up-and-coming talent.
After participating in training in the Mercedes simulator, the American received great marks from Vowles along with fellow rookie McLaren racer Oscar Piastri.
“He came to Mercedes as a sim evaluation [driver] and I was interested in looking at him because he had performance, especially when you go back to his Formula 3 performance in an average team.
“He was there with Oscar [Piastri] and I rate Oscar also highly. At the time in Mercedes we had a good suite of drivers. So that was where my relationship with him ended.”
Sargeant and Piastri first ran across one other while competing in the UAE Formula 4 in 2017, and then later in the Formula 3 championship in 2020 while they were colleagues at Prema and the race came down to the wire with the Australian edging him out by four points.
Sargeant was capable of remaining on the F1 radar for another year in F3 after trying out for American single-seaters before being given the chance to sign with Williams as a junior racer and move to F2.
“Williams funded his Formula 2 career, so he is now salaried as a professional driver and Williams funded him because they had deep belief that he was the real deal,” said Vowles.
“My reticence came from the fact that prior to [F2] that it’s difficult to really judge him. Now he’s been in the car, I now have the ability to look at his data, and he is here on merit, and as a result of Williams investing correctly in him.
“So it just shows you that my previous life I was wrong and Williams were right.”
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