Written by Carrie Foley, edited by Janvi Unni
In the final instalment of the 2023 RookieWatch series, we’re focusing on the only American driver to grace an F1 grid in eight years: Logan Sargeant.
Sargeant’s entrance into F1 certainly suits the sport’s desire to reach the USA; in fact his rookie season aligns perfectly with the very first Las Vegas Grand Prix taking place later this year. F1 has always been very European-centric with only a handful of drivers coming from outside of Europe. With the popularity of ‘Formula One: Drive to Survive’, F1 has gained massive traction in America, drawing even more fans. The final missing piece for them is, of course, having an American home hero to root for. With Sargeant now on the scene, it seems that the sport’s American integration is at last complete.
As of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Sargeant currently stands P19 in the Driver’s Championship. His highest finish so far this season was P11 at Silverstone, narrowly missing out on scoring his first points. Unfortunately, the Florida driver has also suffered three DNFs across eleven races. Behind him in the championship are only Nyck De Vries, who was made to withdraw from the season due to poor performance, and Daniel Ricciardo, who raced for the first time this season last time out at Hungary.
Now that there are only two rookies on the grid, the pressure is mounting for Sargeant. Oscar Piastri has been performing extremely well, and a podium seems like it could be well within his sights this year. The immediate promise of Ricciardo, combined with De Vries’ early exit, is surely causing Sargeant to be under a great deal of pressure to perform. He is also being outshone by his teammate and former Red Bull driver, Alex Albon, who is delivering extremely consistent results despite the challenges of the FW45.
It has certainly been a frustrating debut season so far for Sargeant. Most recently so at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where a spin on lap 68 forced the American to retire. However, it is important to remember that F1 is in a league entirely of its own, even in comparison to F2 and F3. Despite Sargeant’s success in other racing leagues, the transition can be challenging and mistakes are to be expected. Teams providing their drivers with the stability and the support they need to develop is crucial in providing new drivers with the best chance at success possible.
Although this may be true, Sergeant is by no means settling with his current performance. Drivers are, by nature, hungry racers who aren’t happy with anything less than first place. Sargeant will no doubt be looking to extract more from the car and weed out his own mistakes that are holding him back. At this point in the season, teams, including Williams, will bring more upgrades to their cars which will hopefully bolster Sargeant’s performance. We have already seen some of the FW45’s progress, as upgrades for Silverstone enabled Sargeant to place P5 in Friday practise. The performance so far has seemed somewhat inconsistent, but hopefully Sargeant can now look forward to an upwards trajectory in car development that will better support the remainder of his season.
We at DiveBomb look forward to seeing how Sargeant’s rookie season develops, especially at the premier race at Las Vegas later on this season.