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Albon to take over Sargeant’s car for remainder of Australia GP weekend after FP1 shunt

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Williams have announced that Alex Albon will take over the car of his team mate Logan Sargeant for the remainder of the 2024 Australian Grand Prix weekend, following his crash in Free Practice 1 on Friday morning.

Towards the end of FP1, Albon lost control of his Williams FW46 at the exit of Turn 6 at Albert Park, running over the kerbs and then spinning out into the wall on the other side of the track.

READ MORE: ‘Consummate professional’ Sargeant calls giving up car to Albon in Australia ‘the hardest moment in my career’

Although unharmed in the incident, Albon was forced to sit out Free Practice 2, as Williams – who confirmed that they have no third chassis available this weekend – assessed the damage to the Thai driver’s #23 machine.

With that damage deemed to have been too significant to continue using the chassis, the team made the call for Albon – who last season claimed 27 of the team’s 28 points to help them to P7 in the constructors’ championship – to take over the car of team mate Sargeant.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Alex Albon of Thailand and Williams F1 crashes out during FP1

Albon crashed the car in FP1

Referring to Albon's crash, a statement from Williams on Friday evening said: “Due to the extensive damage sustained, [Williams are] forced to withdraw the chassis for the remainder of the Grand Prix. This chassis will be returned to the team's HQ at Grove for repair.

“Due to the fact that a third chassis is unavailable, the team can confirm it has taken the decision for Alex to compete for the remainder of the weekend in the chassis that Logan Sargeant drove in FP1 and FP2.”

READ MORE: Leclerc says he has ‘best shot’ of taking pole so far this year as Sainz reflects on first day back since surgery in Melbourne

“We are hugely disappointed that the damage sustained to the chassis has meant we need to withdraw it from the weekend,” said Team Principal James Vowles. “It's unacceptable in modern day Formula 1 not to have a spare chassis, but it is a reflection of how behind we were in the winter period and an illustration of why we need to go through significant change in order to get ourselves in a better position for the future. As a result, we have had some very difficult decisions to make this afternoon.

“While Logan should not have to suffer from a mistake that he did not make, every race counts when the midfield is tighter than ever, so we have made the call based on our best potential to score points this weekend.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 08: Logan Sargeant of United States and Williams looks on in the

Sargeant said being asked to give up his car was “the hardest moment I can remember in my career”

“This decision was not made lightly, and we cannot thank Logan enough for his graceful acceptance, demonstrating his dedication to the team; he is a true team player. This will prove a tough weekend for Williams, and this situation is not one that we will put ourselves in again.”

Albon went on to thank his “consummate professional” team mate Sargeant for agreeing to hand over his car, saying: “I have to be totally honest and say that no driver would want to give up his seat. I would never want anything like this to happen.

FP2: Leclerc sets the pace during second practice in Australia from Verstappen and Sainz

“Logan has always been a consummate professional and a team player from day one, and this won't be an easy one for him to take. At this point though, I cannot dwell on the situation and my only job now is to maximise our potential this weekend and work with the whole team to make sure we do the best job possible.”

For his part, Sargeant – who had a strong opening day in Australia, finishing the two practice sessions 14th and 13th – called being asked to give up his car “the hardest moment I can remember in my career”, adding: “It's absolutely not easy. I am however completely here for the team and will continue to contribute in any way that I can this weekend to maximise what we can do.”

Sargeant will now spend the rest of the weekend on the sidelines, as Albon jumps into the American’s chassis from Free Practice 3 onwards, with Williams still seeking their first points of the 2024 campaign.

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