INSIGHT: How Sargeant turned his career around

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INSIGHT: How Sargeant turned his career around

Insights & Analysis

INSIGHT: How Sargeant turned his career around

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Twelve months ago, Logan Sargeant was preparing for his first IndyCar test after his European dream appeared to be coming to an end.

He’d just completed an impressive season with an uncompetitive Formula 3 team, but looked to be out of options to fund a Formula 2 move. Then Williams came along with an academy place and everything changed.

“I remember speaking to you at the beginning of 2021, and I had nothing,” Sargeant recalls. “I was at home, and at that point, I had nothing. It just shows how, if you just stick to it, how much of a difference one year can make.

“To be honest, I owe all the credit to the support I’ve had around me in terms of my family, my trainer, Williams – they’ve all been so supportive, and obviously given me a chance to be in this position in the first place. Without that, I wouldn’t be here. I just try to appreciate that as much as I possibly can and do my best for them at the same time.”

Oh, how it is all so different now. As I sit with Sargeant at Circuit of The Americas one year on, he’s just been announced as a Williams driver for 2023, making the step up to Formula 1 next year as long as he secures his Super License at the final round in Abu Dhabi.

It’s a rapid rise after an excellent rookie season in F2 that even the 21-year-old could not have foreseen.

“Probably not, to be honest!” he says. “It’s weird; you expect yourself to perform at a high level, but you don’t look at the outcome of performing at a high level. You just sort of look, I guess you’re caught in the moment in terms of trying to perform at a high level now. But you don’t think what that can turn into.

“You don’t start seeing that until the talks start, and everything starts to transpire behind the scenes. But I had no expectations coming into the season. Obviously I believed in myself to do a good job, but I just went in very open-minded about just going in and doing my best.”

The caveat of the Super License still hangs over Sargeant, as he needs a top-five finish in the standings to secure the necessary points (or top six if he has two more clean FP1 sessions this year). Despite it now being public knowledge that an F1 seat is on the line next month, the Floridian – who is currently third overall – insists it isn’t adding any undue pressure.

“To be honest, I’m comfortable,” he says. “I mean, at the end of the day, we’ve been rapid all year. There’s no reason that it’s going to change. At the same time, I feel like I’m doing everything I can to be as well-prepped mentally, physically… even staying mentally sharp in a car because I’ve been given these FP1s. There’s nothing better than that in terms of to keep me sharp.

“Obviously the simulator work has still to come, but I feel like if I do everything I possibly can to be ready for it, then that’s all I can do and I just have to go and do the best I can.”

Sargeant still needs to complete his Super License requirements to make the Williams cockpit his permanent home next year, but the Floridian is comfortably on target to tick those boxes. Sam Bloxham/Motorsport Images

Doing his best is a mantra that Sargeant has stuck to, especially since the F3 year when he was in a team that was unable to fight regularly at the front.

There are some other things that Sargeant is going to have to learn quickly, though, as interest ramps up following his announcement. As the first American to have a full-time seat in Formula 1 since Scott Speed in 2007 – given Alexander Rossi was a late-season addition at Manor in 2015 – and at a time when the sport is booming in the States, there’s been plenty of attention after Jost Capito dropped the mic on Saturday morning.

We were speaking 24 hours later, and he admits it was a crazy weekend that left him wanting to soak up the occasion on race day in Austin.

“I mean, I was surprised!” he says. “I already knew prior ,but anyways to do it in America is obviously a good idea for the team.

“I just feel like this weekend has been sort of a strange feeling for me, because I’ve just been so focused coming into it. I was just so focused on the FP1 that I wasn’t really paying attention to anything that was going on outside of that.

“Now that I finished my FP1, and that (news) dropped, I’m going to take it all in. You know, enjoy the race, enjoy the atmosphere, because it’s always amazing here. I’m going to just take it as it comes and really enjoy the moment.”

But now, attention turns to Mexico, where Sargeant will get another FP1 run to aid his development, one that he expects to be even more productive. That’s because he’s known about his track time plans and 2023 race seat for nearly six weeks, and targeted consistent progression without feeling the need to try and impress the team with his first outing.

“Friday already gave me a lot, to be honest,” he says. “Literally, so much taken in. But it has just given my brain a chance to reference the drivability of the car, the way the car handles, the way it feels on the brakes. And basically just be able to visualize that before I get into the next into my next FP1, and make the necessary changes.

“In terms of the way it felt, I was just very surprised by how reactive their car was both between the steering, the handling, the braking, power applications, everything was extremely quick and efficient. And I guess in the nicest way, an F2 car is not quite like that.

So you almost have to adjust your inputs and the timing of your inputs, because of how different everything happens. Mainly just because of how fast everything’s happening, and your body’s just not used to that speed of activity. I guess you could say it takes takes a day or two to adjust and let everything slow down. And once everything slows down, your brain and your body starts reacting to it in a much better way. I think that’s all I need.

“Any time in an F1 car is hard enough to get. So I think you have to take each opportunity and have an open mind to learn as much as possible to understand the car, because it is very different in the way it needs to be driven. And it’s just about making those adjustments, but also understanding them.

“Then what I’m focused on going forward is just taking what I’ve learned from that FP1 and building upon that, to then making that feel more natural and comfortable.”

There’s a lot of learning to be done in a short space of time, but given how quickly Sargeant has turned his career around, the odds are he’s going to rise to the challenge.

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