Williams driver Logan Sargeant was the recipient of two separate penalties even before the Japanese Grand Prix began owing to the fact that he was using a ‘third car’ during the weekend.
The seat alongside Alex Albon at Williams is up for grabs for the 2024 season, with Sargeant yet to secure a long-term deal with the team.
Having only recently started his F1 career, the American rookie has failed to acclimatise till now and is still chasing his first point in the sport.
This has naturally led to the rumour mills working on overtime, with both Liam Lawson and Mick Schumacher reportedly in the running to secure the seat alongside Albon next term.
Sargeant didn’t help his own cause after he made a huge error at Suzuka that led to yet another accident during the first qualifying session.
The rookie completely lost control of his car at the final corner and slammed into the main grandstand.
Setup changes were ordered on his car between qualifying and the main race and Sargeant was forced to accept a pitlane start due to his error.
However, the damage was so significant that the FIA got involved, with Williams’ Head of Trackside Engineering Dave Robson claiming that the team did all it could to mitigate the damages.
However, so many changes had to be made to the car that FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer believed it didn’t replicate the original model and constituted a ‘third car’.
Stewards were soon brought into action and they eventually came to the conclusion that Williams had ended up breaking the rule for having a maximum of two cars for a single race weekend.
The penalty for this is that the driver has to start in the pitlane.
However, Sargeant was already taxed with this and FIA felt further punishment was necessary.
As a result, a 10-second time-penalty was added to his pitlane start.
The race didn’t get much easier for Sargeant and as things panned out, the penalties were of little consequence as he picked up yet another infringement for colliding with Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo and was eventually forced to retire before the completion of the race.