How Logan Sargeant overcame financial troubles to reach F1

For 16 years, America waited for one of their own to make it onto the Formula 1 grid. Now, Logan Sargeant looks to give his compatriots plenty to smile about as he enters F1 with Williams

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America is currently riding a wave of a boom in Formula 1, with three Grand Prix in the country selling out, increased coverage and more American companies dipping their toes into F1 than ever before.

On track Haas currently fly the flag for America, but competition could be arriving in the form of Andretti Global, backed by Cadillac.

As if this wasn’t enough, America will have one of their own on the grid, Florida’s Logan Sargeant, whose road to the pinnacle of motorsport was bumpy at times.

So how did America’s first F1 driver for eight years save his single-seater career when the chips looked down, and could he surprise some in the paddock?

Early promise in go-karts before setting sail to Europe

Sargeant’s racing career began at eight in his native Florida, where he competed in local, national and regional championships before moving to Europe to continue his career.

In 2015 Sargeant made headlines by winning the KF-Junior Karting world championship in La Conca, Italy, defeating Clement Novalak and Caio Collet and joining a rich pantheon of former winners, including Alain Prost and Charles Leclerc.

A year later, he switched to cars taking part in the Formula 4 UAE championship finishing second in the championship behind runaway winner Jonathan Aberdein.

Neil Verhagen #21 Tech1 Racing, talks to Logan Sargeant during round eight of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup series at the Nurburgring in 2018 / Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool

The 2017 season saw him compete in Britain full-time, finishing third in the British Formula 4 championship taking two wins.

2018 was a similar story as Sargeant took four wins on his way to fourth in the Formula Renault Eurocup series before moving up to Formula 3 for 2019, driving for Carlin-Buzz Racing.

Although he only managed to score five points throughout the season, Sargeant’s performances attracted the attention of PREMA, signing him for the 2020 Formula 3 season, where he would partner British F4 rival Oscar Piastri and Frederik Vesti.

Inches away from winning the championship before facing the exit

The 2020 season was due to kick off in Bahrain, only for Covid-19 to hit just days before lights out, rerouting the season opener to Red Bull Ring for a doubleheader.

Sargeant started the season well with a pair of seconds and a third at the first Silverstone weekend, but he had yet to win and was 17 points behind Piastri going into the second Silverstone weekend.

He didn’t have to wait long for that first win, as Sargeant won from the pole in the Feature, snatching the championship lead from Piastri as the pair duelled for the championship up until the season finale at Mugello.

But following an opening lap collision in the sprint, Piastri took the title, moving up to Formula 2 for 2021. Sargeant’s expected graduation to F2 hit trouble as financial issues forced him to look elsewhere.

With the clock ticking to the season opener at Imola, Charouz Racing gave the American a lifeline by signing him to their Formula 3 team alongside Enzo Fittipaldi. He duly repaid their faith, vaulting the Czech outfit to fifth in the teams’ championship as Sargeant took victory at Sochi on his way to finishing seventh in the standings.

Williams comes calling

With his stock rising, Sargeant signed for Williams’ driver academy during the United States Grand Prix weekend, completing the young drivers test for the team in Yas Marina and impressing right out of the gate.

Now in Formula 2, a year later than expected and reunited with Carlin, Sargeant had a quiet start to his campaign with a slew of points finishes and a third in the sprint Barcelona.

He then finished second in the Feature at Baku, jumping to fourth in the standings. Sargeant then went one better in Silverstone, taking the feature race win from the pole.

One week later, he was again back on the pole and picked up another feature win, albeit after Richard Verschoor was disqualified due to insufficient fuel.

Sargeant was on pole again for the Feature at Paul Ricard; however, he wasn’t able to make it a hat-trick of wins as a clutch failure put him out just before half distance.

Theo Pourchaire’s upturn in results meant Sargeant could not hold second in the standings. Still, his performances impressed Williams boss Jost Capito enough for him to be signed for 2023, partnering Alex Albon.

One sticking point, however, was the super license points, as Sargeant still needed 40 points to allow him to race in F1.

With a programme of FP1 sessions under his belt and fourth place in the Formula 2 standings, he got the 40 required to compete in Grand Prix racing, becoming the first American to race full-time in the sport for 16 years.

Can he overcome the rookie growing pains?

It might seem daunting to represent 331 million citizens at the highest level of motorsport, but Sargeant has shown throughout his young career that he is more capable of setting up to the plate.

An example of this is his final two seasons of Formula 3, where he extracted the maximum out of two cars at opposite ends of the performance spectrum, as without Sargeant, Charouz went backwards in 2022.

Yes, Williams have had a bumpy offseason, and yes, it’s questionable as to whether the team has made much progress over the winter, but Sargeant seems perfectly capable of doing better than Nicholas Latifi, who floundered at times.

Logan Sargeant – Williams | Williams F1 Team

Albon will also be an excellent teammate to learn from, with the Brit-Thai also having experience coaching rookie drivers when they struggle for confidence, i.e. Yuki Tsunoda.

Sargeant won’t be expected to score rights away, unlike Piastri and Nyck De Vries, meaning he’ll have more time to learn and feel comfortable with Williams.

In short, his rookie year is expected to be a testing one, but he won’t be under massive pressure to overdrive the car or match Piastri’s performances due to the predicted gap in performance between McLaren and Williams.

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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