Sergeant and Williams reserve driver Nick de Vries are the two main names linked with the seat currently held by Nicolas Latifi, even before the Dutchman cemented his claim with a fine run to ninth on his Monza debut last weekend.
However, De Vries also put himself in the frame elsewhere. He has been offered a test at Alpine 2021 and met Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in Graz on Friday with a view to racing for AlphaTauri next season, now that it is clear that Colton Herta will not be able to get a super license.
De Vries is the logical candidate as the position is to hand the seat to someone who could one day move to Red Bull Racing as Max Verstappen’s partner.
It is understood that the De Vries/Red Bull deal is not done yet. However, if this is eventually confirmed, Pierre Gasly will be able to move to Alpine, as was the plan when Herta was considered by Red Bull.
If De Vries does join the Red Bull camp, then Williams’ full attention will be on Sargent, who has enjoyed a strong debut in the F2 championship and scheduled to drive the FW44 in FP1 at his home race in Austin.
However, the American must come out of the final in Abu Dhabi in November in fifth or higher in the championship order to ensure he receives an FIA super license that will allow him to race next year.
He now sits third on 135 points, but could drop down the order if misfortune awaits him in the final round in Abu Dhabi. Jack Duane, Jahan Daraval and Enzo Fittipaldi each have 126 points, Liam Lawson 117, Frederic Vesti 114 and Yuri Whipps 110.
If Sargeant doesn’t get the license points he needs, Williams will have to look elsewhere.
Antonio Giovinazzi, Haas, Othmar Schaffnauer, Alpine, Luca de Meo, Alpine
Photo: Franco Nugnes
Antonio Giovinazzi who likes De Vries the 2021 Alpine is scheduled to be tested and also linked with Mick Schumacher’s place at Haas, is believed to top the list, while Schumacher himself cannot be ruled out. Jack Aitken, who replaced George Russell at GP Sakhir 2020, is also available.
Another option is that Williams and Alpine could revive the loan deal that was planned for Oscar Piastre, but with Enstone protégé Duane stepping aside.
Speaking at Monza last weekend, team principal Jost Kapita made it clear that Williams is ready to challenge the rookie.
“There is a good selection of drivers,” he told Autosport.
“It is a good choice of young drivers, there are also experienced drivers. And so I think they are completely different philosophies, different strategies.
“In a team situation, we can work on different strategies. We are not so far ahead that we need two very experienced drivers, so we can experiment a bit and bring in young drivers.
“So we’ll see what turns out to be the best.”
Asked if he thought Sargeant was ready to make the step up to F1, he said: “I think he’s ready. Yes, he needs to [superlicence] points.
Race winner Logan Sargeant, Carlin
“Of course, if he doesn’t score, it doesn’t help. But yeah, I’m sure he’s ready whether he scores or not.”
Bringing an American to the F1 grid would be a huge PR boost for Williams, especially after the Herta saga. However, Capita denied it was a big motivation for the team.
“Because of this, we would not take him,” he stressed.
“Either we think he’s ready and able, or we don’t. He can do another year of F2, or whatever.”