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Vowles provides chassis repair update as he assesses chances of Williams competing with two cars in Japan

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Williams team boss James Vowles is confident that the squad will have two cars “without too many issues” at the Japanese Grand Prix, after being forced to withdraw Logan Sargeant from last weekend’s event in Australia amid a chassis shortage.

Alex Albon’s heavy crash during FP1 in Melbourne wrote off his chassis and, with no spare available, the Grove operation made the difficult decision to put the Thai-British driver in Sargeant’s car for the remainder of the weekend.

EXPLAINED: Why Williams had to bench Sargeant in Australia – and the big impact it has on the rest of their 2024

The damaged chassis was swiftly flown back to Williams’ factory for repairs and, as things stand, Vowles believes the outfit will be able to field both Albon and Sargeant at the upcoming Suzuka weekend.

“I’m confident we’ll be able to fix the chassis,” he said in his latest post-race ‘Vowles Verdict’ video, where he described the situation as a “disaster” for Williams.

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2024 Australian GP FP1: Albon crash brings out the red flags in first practice

“We put measures in place to make sure the chassis was back here very early on Monday morning – I think it arrived at around 2am or so. Since then there were already crews inside the building working on that, stripping it down and doing repairs. We’re in a good place for having the chassis back early enough for Suzuka.”

He continued: “A lot of the work was done actually back in Melbourne. There were photographs and techniques called NDT, which is non-destructive testing. There’s various ones you can do there but it allows us to fully understand how big the damage is and what we have to do, and that preparation was key.

READ MORE: Williams boss Vowles labels Albon/Sargeant chassis swap situation in Melbourne ‘unacceptable in modern day F1’

“What it meant was already at 2am on Monday, work could start. It wasn’t then a reflection on what was happening, it was more, ‘this is what we’re doing and this is how we execute it’. In Suzuka we’ll have two cars without too many issues.”

Vowles then confirmed that Williams will remain without a spare chassis in Japan, should another similar incident occur, but he is hopeful one will be available “soon”.

“The original plan before the season started was to have three chassis, as you would expect, at round one,” he commented. “That gently slipped toward round three as items became more and more delayed.

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Williams boss James Vowles explains his decision to hand Sargeant’s car to Albon in Melbourne

“Since then, and especially with the work that we’re doing now on chassis number two, there is again going to be a small amount of delay. That said, we will have a [spare] chassis soon.

“In terms of how much work it is, as you can probably gather by the fact of it’s not available to us now, it is weeks and weeks of work, it is thousands of hours spent in composites in order to get it ready. It’s one of the biggest jobs within an F1 team, and you’ve got to get it right.

READ MORE: Vowles insists he still ‘believes’ in Sargeant as he reveals American’s reaction after handing car to Albon

“Even when it’s built, it then has to have a number of items completed to it, including machining to get it in exactly the right state so it’s ready for racing. It will be with us soon. In the meantime, we have to deal with the circumstances we have in front of us.”

Williams are one of three teams, along with Kick Sauber and Alpine, who did not score a point across the opening three rounds of the season, with Albon’s P11 finishes in Saudi Arabia and Australia putting them eighth in the constructors’ standings.

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