Logan Sargeant has a new favorite moment to his racing career after taking the wheel of an F1 car for the first time when he drove a Williams at the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test.
The Floridian took part in the test with a current Williams car as part of a day designed to allow drivers who have not raced in more than two grands prix to get mileage in F1 machinery. It marked the first time Sargeant has driven a current car, and although his running was ended just short of the 100-lap mark with a power unit issue, he says he has never experienced anything like it.
“How enjoyable was it? Probably tops the best day of my racing career, that’s for sure,” Sargeant said. “It was everything I expected plus more. It was pretty awesome.
“I just expected a lot of grip, but not quite that much! Just crazy how planted they are. They really don’t move from the ground too much. It was just awesome.
“First run, just trying to feel as comfortable as (possible) – get comfortable with it. I felt like I adapted to the amount of power quite quickly. I think the one that took a little bit longer and the bigger step was the amount of grip and downforce. The first lap, you’re like, ‘Wow, this thing’s got some serious grip’. So that was sort of the biggest thing that stood out to me.
“Honestly, (the braking) is absolutely insane. You hit the pedal, and in the junior formulas, it really doesn’t affect you when you hit the brake pedal. But this throws your whole body forward. The stopping power is like nothing I’ve felt before.”
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) December 14, 2021
Turning a best lap of 1m27.476s, Sargeant felt like he had started to push the car in the afternoon before his running was ended, although his neck was feeling the strain after a number of long runs early on.
“I felt good by the end. I was quite happy with my laps. But as you know, the more you drive, the more you find. You keep finding steps and small things here and there. It’s hard to say (how close to the limit of the car).
“I’d say it was more benefitted to me. This morning we did quite a few long runs to just get time in the car really, get mileage, and did a few shorter runs this afternoon. I can’t complain with what we did. It was really good. I think they were more worried about me getting time in the car than really testing much on their side.
“The G-force levels are definitely substantially higher. It’s quite a shock at the start, to be honest, I didn’t realize how strong it would be. To be honest, the F2 and F3 car is actually more physical in terms of arms, and the brake pedal’s harder as well, I just felt obviously the neck is really where it hits. A bit of managing that throughout the day but I feel like I handled it well.”
The 20-year-old will remain in Abu Dhabi for Formula 2 testing with his new team Carlin later this week, having been confirmed as making the permanent step up to the series in 2022.