Williams focusing on improving corner exits for Bahrain GP after “struggling” during F1 Testing — Sargeant

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Logan Sargeant has outlined the areas in which Williams needs to improve with the FW46 to make it more competitive.

The British team enjoyed a year of improvement in 2023, finishing 7th in the Constructors’ Championship.

Speaking about how the car felt in testing, he explained corners exits proved to be tricky.

The American driver said: “I think it felt like generally struggling on exits, just a little bit of lack of forgiveness from the rear. 

“Those are the places we’re aiming to improve on the most. But I think this track as well isn’t the perfect baseline because you have so many variables at this track. The wind plays a huge part; the temperature plays a huge part. 

“The shift in balance and shift in level of grip from 3pm to 6pm is seconds of lap time. And ultimately, those seconds of lap time in the car just make everything feel nicer and easier to drive. So, I never got those performance runs in the evening. So I haven’t driven the car in nice conditions yet, bar a race run. So that will be interesting for me as well to field tomorrow night.”

Williams suffered a deficit during some turns that required the driver to turn and brake at the same time last season.

Corners such as Turn 10 in Bahrain were a struggle for Sargeant and teammate Alex Albon, a characteristic which has improved much, according to the American.

“That [Turn 10] was the corner we were strongest at in the test. I think we had the benefit of a headwind there through the test, which always suits us better, especially in those combined entries. 

“But there’s no doubt it shifted a lot, and it’s a step in the right direction. I just am not sure how long it’s going to take for us to start getting everything out of it.”

Sargeant stepped up from Formula 2 ahead of the 2023 season and lamented the lack of adjustments in the junior series, making set-up work harder in F1 and how big a difference tools make to feel comfortable in the pinnacle of Motorsport.

“I think you come from F2, and it’s very limited, not just from a setup point of view, but you have no tools. I would say tools are so vital. Honestly, the amount of lap time that’s in it is so significant that I can’t even put a number on it. 

“So just having a better understanding of that, I think to master that takes years, but I think at least I have an understanding of it. 

“This goes back to connecting the lap a little bit better. When you have a tailwind in this corner, what will you do with your tools to dial that out? And I feel like that’s somewhere that I feel more comfortable. 

“When I’m talking about the setup with my engineer, I feel like I know what everything’s doing, so it just feels a little bit easier to indicate the direction I want to go. I’m not just saying the balance, but also using past references of things we’ve tried to try and move in the right direction.

“Do I feel more comfortable from a tools, engineering point of view? For sure.

Photo credit: Williams Racing

The 23-year-old made critical mistakes early in his rookie season and said he is entering the new year with a much more measured mindset. He only scored a single point and failed to outqualify teammate Alex Albon in 2023.

The Floridian wants to continue his approach towards of building up his speed as the weekend gets to the critical stage — and avoid overdriving in practice.

“I think last year was just maybe overexcited, a bit naive to what was coming, but at the same time just ready to jump in headfirst, whereas I feel like this year, more understanding, more logical approach. 

“I found what was starting to work for me at the end of last year, and I don’t want to go back to the default setting. I want to start where I left off. And that means building up my weekends as I was doing in the last few three or four rounds of last year. So I’m not trying to overthink it; just continue what I was doing and keep building off what I was building on. 

“And I think the biggest thing is, I know this isn’t completely on your question, but unfortunately, we did have a lack of testing, both from a team perspective and a driver perspective. 

“So that pushes even more towards the side of really using FP1 and FP2 to keep building on the car. But also for myself, I guess that’s sort of the approach.”