Logan Sargeant admitted surprise at Williams Formula 1 team boss James Vowles' public show of confidence in him amid mounting pressures in his debut season.
The American has shown flashes of pace throughout his first season in F1, but these have been outweighed by mistakes which have mounted up over recent races - with notable crashes at Zandvoort, Singapore, and Suzuka following the summer break.
This has led to speculation that Sargeant could be moved aside for 2024 should Williams wish to mitigate further repair bills, and the team has been forced to use older-spec parts on his FW45 to reduce the impact on production of new bodywork.
Vowles stated in a video shared across Williams' social media channels that his preference would be to keep Sargeant for next season, and that the team would work with its academy product to help make his F1 tenure a success.
Sargeant said that he was aware of Vowles' position prior to the video's release, but was blindsided by the public faith shown by his team principal.
"It's always nice, I mean, from my side I talk to James every single weekend. I knew that before anything was put on social media. It was just sort of a nice surprise, really," Sargeant explained.
"I didn't know that was coming. But at the end of the day, I have to just keep working hard, keep my head down and try to be better.
"Japan, including the lap until the last corner in quali, was my best weekend to this point, 100%. I built it up nicely, did everything I needed to, I was just too heavy on the right foot in the last corner and that's how quickly it can go wrong.
"I think realistically now it's just more important to have a clean weekend and not go for every last hundredth, even if that means I'm leaving a tenth or two on the table."
Sargeant's team-mate Alex Albon echoed Vowles's support and felt that the Floridian was due more credit for his performances despite the mistakes that have been prevalent in his maiden F1 season.
The Anglo-Thai racer added that although he was not involved in the decision making, he felt Sargeant needed "more time and confidence" to prove his worth.
"I'm not the one to decide, but I know Logan pretty well. I can see his performance. I do think he doesn't get the credit that he deserves," Albon reckoned.
"There is a lot of speed and talent within Logan. I think it's just been a little bit offset with a couple of mistakes that he's had.
"In all seriousness, I do think he's - I mean, I'm not the one to say it, but I get on very well with him and I think he just needs a bit more time and confidence, and he'll get up there."