Williams driver Logan Sargeant, left, of the US and teammate...

Williams driver Logan Sargeant, left, of the US and teammate Alexander Albon of Thailand react as they sit outside their team garage ahead of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, March 21, 2024. Credit: AP/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

MELBOURNE, Australia — Williams driver Logan Sargeant will take no part in the Australian Grand Prix after his team gave his car to teammate Alex Albon, whose own vehicle was wrecked in a crash in Friday's practice.

In what Sargeant called “the hardest moment I can remember in my career,” F1's only American driver will sit out Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race at the Albert Park circuit. Williams decided Albon — who praised Sargeant as a “team player” — was likelier to score points.

Albon lost control and slid into the barriers in the first practice session before bouncing off into the barrier on the other side of the track. Albon was unhurt but did not take part in the second session while Williams checked whether his car could be repaired. The team eventually decided the “extensive damage” meant the car had to be returned to the team's base in England.

Williams confirmed the team had not brought a spare third chassis to the event.

“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,” team principal James Vowles said.

"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.”

Vowles added it was “unacceptable” that Williams didn't have a spare chassis available, “but it is a reflection of how behind we were in the winter period,” when the team struggled to get its new cars designed and built in time for preseason testing. Williams was a dominant team in the 1980s and 1990s but has usually been among F1's slowest in recent years and has relatively outdated infrastructure compared to its F1 rivals, something Vowles has tried to modernize.

Williams driver Alexander Albon of Thailand during the first practice...

Williams driver Alexander Albon of Thailand during the first practice session of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park, in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Credit: AP/Scott Barbour

It will be the first time the Florida-born Sargeant has failed to start a Grand Prix since he made his debut in F1 last year.

“This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career and it’s absolutely not easy," Sargeant said. "I am, however, completely here for the team and will continue to contribute in any way that I can this weekend to maximize what we can do."

Albon, who was born in Britain but races under the Thai flag, has consistently outperformed his American teammate in qualifying and races. Albon scored 27 points to Sargeant's one last year. Neither driver has scored a point yet in 2024, though Albon placed ahead of Sargeant in the two races so far in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

“I have to be totally honest and say that no driver would want to give up his seat," Albon said. "I would never want anything like this to happen. 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."

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