Williams Formula 1 driver Logan Sargeant has opened up about previously being in contention to become a Mercedes-AMG F1 junior.
The 22-year-old is currently in his rookie F1 season, and was promoted to a race seat with Williams after being in its young driver development programme since October 2021.
He got his first F1 test two months after joining Williams, and after a year of being in its ranks he was told he would get an F1 seat for 2023 pending he earned an FIA superlicence. Sargeant achieved just that as he came fourth in Formula 2 in 2022.
However prior to gaining Williams’ support, Sargeant’s single-seater career was on the ropes. He had lost out in a final day title shootout in FIA Formula 3 in 2020 against Prema team-mate Oscar Piastri, and due to lacking budget he looked at prototype sportscars for 2021.
But Charouz Racing System then gave him a chance to stay in FIA F3, and he rewarded their faith with a win en route to seventh in the points. An IndyCar test then fell through, but shortly after Williams called and that enabled the step up to F2.
It was in the off-season after his F3 title defeat that Sargeant was evaluated by Mercedes.
“I just finished that 2020 season. It was a disappointing end of the year, of course. Went to Mercedes, did two days on the simulator. I loved it. I honestly thought it was a great two days,” he explained on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.
“And from what I understood at the time was that they wanted me to do another year of F3 with Prema. That just wasn’t the route that we were ready to go. And obviously that was another big boatful of cash that wasn’t there. So, yeah, I feel like there were more variables than [not being good enough for them].”
It was revealed earlier this year by Williams’ team principal James Vowles that Mercedes evaluated Sargeant while he was its motorsport strategy director.
“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 F3 performance in an average team,” Vowles had said.
“He was there with Oscar 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. He then, prior to me arriving at Williams, Williams funded, it’s very important to state this, his F2 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. And my reticence came from the fact that prior to that it’s difficult to really judge him.”
Vowles addded that Sargeant “is here on merit” in F1 and “as a result of Williams investing correctly in him”, showing “that my previous life I was wrong and Williams were right”.