Williams Formula 1 boss James Vowles has cautioned that Logan Sargeant has to get things “controlled” after a difficult start to the season for the American rookie.
While Formula 2 graduate Sargent has shown impressive speed, he has also endured a series of mishaps in the early races, his learning curve made harder by a run of tricky street or temporary venues.
He crashed in qualifying in Jeddah, collided with Nyck de Vries at the final restart in Australia, and then missed the sprint in Baku after another heavy accident in the shootout SQ1 session, having done a quick enough lap to progress.
The 22-year-old's home race in Miami was ruined by first-lap contact with Lance Stroll’s right-rear wheel that led to an early stop for a new nose and left him on his own at the back of the field for the duration of the race.
Vowles says that Sargeant has the speed but needs to be more consistent and not worry too much about matching more experienced team-mate Alex Albon.
“Logan's here because he's quick, and he is quick, he can deliver,” Vowles told Motorsport.com. “But he has to start by just getting things controlled, delivering cleanly.
"In both qualifying sessions in Baku he made it to Q2. That's the consistency. And that's what we're looking for.
“What I've already explained to him is 'you’re quick enough'. And then, 'use Q2 to build your experience by almost double from what you're doing at the moment'.
“And that's what you'll start seeing him deliver on. You'll see that he'll slowly edge up.
“I'm not expecting him to be on Alex’s pace. Also he's had a string of races he's never even been to before.
“But even [in Miami], disappointed as he was, there was just three tenths between him and Alex [in Q1]. It just so happened that was seven cars. But three-tenths, that's how close it's getting now."
Vowles didn’t blame Sargeant for the Miami first-lap contact, stressing that on the plus side he was able to use the remainder of the race as an extended test session on an empty track.
"It was just racing incident,” said Vowles. “And all that happened was the Aston Martin came alongside, there was not enough room. But it wasn't the either one did anything wrong.
“He took it badly would be the right word, but I haven't at all. As I explained to him, tell me another time that you'll get 50 laps where you can play with the car and learn okay and free air, by yourself.
“He's a rookie, he's got a handful of races under his belt. And that opportunity is invaluable. And he used it afterwards. If you look at his pace, you'll see he's there or thereabouts.
“His frustration is that he wanted a clean execution, and he didn't have it. My alternative is the remainder of the race was positive.”