Today: 21-04-2024

The only American Formula 1 driver is fighting for his future. He says he "definitely" knows what he needs to do.

Austin - Logan Sargeant is the only American driver in Formula 1. He is also the only one among the 20 drivers who has not signed an extension after the current season.

The rookie season, full of ups and downs, is coming to its final stages, and the 22-year-old Williams Racing driver has stated that he "definitely" knows what he needs to do to secure his place in the team after 2023. This opportunity could potentially start at his home race, with a sprint race on Saturday and the US Grand Prix on Sunday.

"I know what it takes. I just have to give them a reason to be happy," Sargeant told NBC News in an interview on Thursday in the team's paddock. "I don't need to do anything special. Just be clean, consistent, and maintain the pace."

When asked if he considered a recent replacement for Sargeant, Williams Team Principal James Vowles said, "He has very clear goals as to what he needs to achieve by the end of the season, and we're working with him consistently." In a video posted on the team's website, he said, "We want him to be successful, and we want him to be in the car next year."

Sargeant said he knows what those goals are and outlined his objectives for the final five races on the calendar. First, "keep up the pace I've had," which he is confident in because "I've found a good place for the car, and everything is moving in the right direction." Second, he wants to eliminate what he called "silly mistakes of tenths of a second."

Among these errors were two costly incidents last month—in Singapore, where he crashed into a barrier and damaged the front wing during a street race, and in Japan, where he floored the gas pedal on the final turn of a hot qualifying lap and went off into the barriers.

"Obviously, you learn from them, but I feel like I've earned, you know, too many," Sargeant said. "But yeah, live and learn."

He also mentioned "a lot of amazing moments," including the British Grand Prix in July when he achieved his best result, finishing 11th, just seconds away from becoming the first American to score points in Formula 1 since Michael Andretti in 1993.

That elusive goal has slipped away from him on the slower but improving Williams car, which lags behind most of the starting grid. Sargeant downplayed the importance of scoring points this weekend, saying, "With each round, it's getting harder and harder." While other teams are introducing upgrades, Williams has shifted its focus to building next year's car.

But he said earning points is possible, noting that his more experienced teammate, Alex Albon, has capitalized on opportunities when they arise and scored several points.

"If we just keep ourselves in a good position, keep it clean, doors will open, and we just have to be ready to walk through that door when it comes," Sargeant said. "So opportunities are always there, and obviously, I'm very motivated to succeed here."

As the sole American in the sport, Sargeant is the only driver to have participated in three home races. In addition to Austin, Formula 1 has added a race in Miami, and next month it will hold its first Grand Prix in Las Vegas with a long straight down the iconic Strip.

This is a huge bet on the sport's future in this rapidly growing market. Nothing can strengthen it like an American driver fighting for points, podiums, and even race wins. Losing the only American driver in the sport could be a step backward.

Austin holds special significance for Sargeant. Last year, he made his Formula 1 debut in an official practice session here. Two years ago, he was announced as a driver for the Williams Racing Academy.

"And now to complete the full circle here, to race with the team, it's just awesome. So, when I come here, it's always good vibes, and hopefully, we can carry that throughout the weekend," Sargeant said. He refrained from defining success for himself this weekend when asked, saying, "Result-wise, I'm not too concerned. It's about getting the most out of the car that I have. And if I know I did that, then I'm a happy man."