Nick Bromberg

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Alex Albon of Thailand and Williams F1 crashes out during FP1 ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 22, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images)

Alex Albon crashed his Williams during the first practice for the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. (Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images)

Logan Sargeant won’t participate in the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix because of Alex Albon’s crash in practice.

Sargeant’s Williams teammate crashed during the first practice session Friday in Australia. Albon’s crash came after he lost control in Turn 6 and slammed into the wall. The contact was heavy and he lost a wheel in the impact.

Albon was uninjured in the crash and able to climb from his car. His car, however, was not as lucky. The damage was so significant that Williams is unable to get the car fixed before the race late Saturday night.

That left the team with a choice. Williams is one of the lowest-funded in F1 and didn’t bring a third chassis to Australia for the race weekend. Without an extra car available to build for Albon, the team had the option of Albon sitting out the race weekend or putting him in Sargeant’s car and benching Sargeant for the weekend.

It chose the latter. And it’s an easy decision to justify, even if it’s Albon’s mistake that caused the whole situation.

Albon scored 27 points in 2023 as Sargeant scored just one. Albon was 13th in the driver’s standings while no other full-time driver scored fewer points than Sargeant. The American’s average finish of 15.8 was also the worst of any full-time driver. Albon had an average finish of 12.4.

It’s indisputable that Albon is the team’s No. 1 driver, and the top drivers at teams usually get preference in scenarios like this. After the decision was announced, Sargeant said it was the hardest moment of his career.

“This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career and it’s absolutely not easy,” Sargeant said via F1’s site. “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.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc posted the fastest time in second practice as the Scuderia look like a possible threat to Red Bull ahead of qualifying and the race. Max Verstappen has won the first two races of the 2024 season after winning 19 of 22 races in 2023.

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