Williams thinks Logan Sargeant's spate of recent crashes has "masked his steady improvement" but says he risks falling behind on Formula 1 car specifications if they keep happening.

Sargeant suffered a couple of costly shunts since the summer break, starting with an off in Zandvoort.

The American rookie also had a huge crash on his first lap of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, running out of track to catch oversteer out of the final corner, and then losing control on the grass as he thumped the wall with both ends of his car.

Williams faced a full rebuild around a spare chassis, which forced Sargeant to start from the pitlane with a 10-second time penalty for using a third car.

In the race he also became involved in an incident, colliding with Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas into the hairpin, with the resulting damage forcing both drivers to retire.

Speaking before Sunday's race, Williams' head of vehicle performance Dave Robson felt Sargeant's high-profile crashes have taken the shine off his otherwise improving form, with Sargeant getting close to team-mate Alex Albon's lap times in Suzuka practice.

"I guess inevitably, they catch the headlines, don't they?," Robson replied when asked by Motorsport.com about Sargeant's crashes.

"I think it has kind of masked his steady performance and this weekend was actually going really well.

Logan Sargeant at Japanese GP 2023

"It is such a difficult circuit to come to and he went about it really well on Friday, built on that on Saturday, and then lost it in the very last corner of the first lap ... and really, it was quite a minor mistake.

"It's just at that corner once you touch the grass, you're in a whole heap of trouble and it was a real shame.

"But yeah, I think it is fair that the crashes since Zandvoort have masked what otherwise has clearly been some steady improvement."

Robson did caution that further crash damage could risk Sargeant falling behind on car specification, with the team already having held back its new front wing.

"To some extent, you end up having to drop back on specs, because for all of the long lead items and then having to ship them around the world, it's already too late to make more new ones, really. Even if you had the money and the time to do it."

When asked if the additional spares Sargeant has required will have a knock-on effect on Williams' development budget heading into 2024, Robson replied: "It probably won't affect next year too much, because I think we've got enough parts.

"It just becomes a bit of a logistical exercise. How many do we want to actually ship out at the circuit? What do we send on to the next? What do we send back to the UK?

"And so I don't think there's too much panic. We'll need to get that chassis repaired, which will consume a little bit of time at the factory. But otherwise, we've got enough bits around this that we can carry on."