Alex Albon’s crash leads to ‘unacceptable’ decision for Williams at F1 Australian GP

As the first practice session at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix wound down, Alex Albon found himself in a tricky spot.

The wall.

As Albon was coming out of the exit to Turn 6 and ran a little wide into Turn 7, which resulted in a massive crash that caused substantial damage to his FW46:

The Williams driver was fine, and had this to say following the incident in the team’s post-practice report: “I ran a little wide and went up onto the exit curb and bottomed out when I landed, so it’s frustrating.”

It was the same turn where Albon crashed in last season’s Australian Grand Prix.

However, the frustration was just beginning for Albon and the team.

Albon was sidelined for the second practice session, and only teammate Logan Sargeant was able to participate. But following the second practice session the real bitter news came from the team.

With the chassis to Albon’s car unable to be repaired in time, and the team not having a spare chassis this weekend, the decision had been made to slide Albon into Sargeant’s car for the rest of the week.

“We are hugely disappointed that the damage sustained to the chassis has meant we need to withdraw it from the weekend. 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,” said Team Principal James Vowles in a statement.

Vowles went on to praise Sargeant’s dedication to the team.

“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. 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,” added Vowles. “This will prove a tough weekend for Williams, and this situation is not one that we will put ourselves in again.”

Sargeant, who is under pressure to keep his seat in F1 for next season, called it the hardest moment of his career.

“This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career and 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,” said the second-year driver.

For his part, Albon praised his teammate, admitting that no driver would want to be in Sargeant’s position.

“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. 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,” said Albon. “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.”

While teams ordinarily have a backup chassis on race weekends, Williams’s development of the FW46 saw some delays, which left them without a spare for the first three races of the season.

And left them forced to made a brutal decision on Friday.

While on paper this is probably the right decision for the team, given Albon’s experience overall and his results last season when compared with Sargent, this is going to be a bitter weekend for the team, regardless of how the next few days unfold.

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