Jost Capito, who brought Logan Sargeant to Williams as team principal in 2022, has revealed why he thinks the American is struggling in his debut season of Formula 1 and why the team signed him after just a year of F2.
Sargeant was initially set to spend two years in F2 after Williams signed him to their driver academy for 2022 but was promoted 12 months ahead of schedule following Nicholas Latifi‘s struggles in the top team and Sargeant‘s quality junior season.
He currently trails teammate Alex Albon 13-2 in races and has been outqualified at every single grand prix, while remaining pointless and behind even Liam Lawson in the drivers’ championship.
“Last year in Formula 2, but also the years before, he got stronger and stronger under pressure,” Capito told Motorsport-Total.com after the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix. “He showed that pressure gives him wings, I have the impression that this is not the case at the moment.
“When the pressure is greater, he tends to make more mistakes. In qualifying on Saturday, he was on Alex Albon‘s time until the last corner, where he made the mistake. So in terms of speed, he’s getting better.”
Capito: Williams must take pressure off Sargeant
Despite overseeing Sargeant‘s ascension to the team, Capito was left Williams at the end of 2022 in one of the more surprising moves of the team principal silly season.
He was replaced by James Vowles, a left-field choice from Mercedes but one that’s enabled Williams to start fighting towards the front of the grid on occasion.
However, that fight has almost entirely been down to Albon, his 21 points over the season are 21 more than Sargeant‘s managed.
“It looks like the pressure makes him fast, that he can drive fast and set good times – but then still makes minor mistakes that then have a bigger cause and effect,” Capito added. “I think if you really want to stand by him and keep him, then you have to take pressure off him and let him drive freely.”
“When you stand by him, you have to tell him: ‘Listen. Yes, you have to drive fast and you have to show the speed. But it’s not tragic and dramatic if something happens.’
“Of course, the costcap is also an issue. But I believe that if you encourage a driver, he makes fewer mistakes and less breaks.”