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(Sam Bloxham/LAT Images)
(Sam Bloxham/LAT Images)

Who Will Be the Williams Second Driver In 2024?

Williams is the last Formula 1 team not to have a confirmed driver lineup for the 2024 season. Williams, who is seventh in the constructor standings heading into the United States Grand Prix, currently has Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant racing for them, but only Albon has been confirmed for 2024. Sargeant, a 22-year-old rookie from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has had a hard time adjusting to Formula 1 after finishing fourth in his first full Formula 2 season the year prior. Sargeant is yet to score his first point, meaning that all 23 of Williams's points come from his teammate, Albon. It isn’t just a lack of points, though. Sargeant hasn’t been able to limit accidents and is estimated to have cost his team around $3.9 million in damages as of the Japanese Grand Prix, an absolutely staggering number. Obviously, these two issues have combined to make Sargeant’s rookie season a rather disappointing one, and it makes sense that Williams is putting off having to commit to the young American for 2024. Sergeant very well could end up driving for the team again next year, but the longer it takes for him to be announced, the more it feels like it could be someone else. Who could it be, though? Well, there are undoubtedly multiple drivers Williams management could turn to, but who are those drivers, and do any of them even make sense? 

Mick Schumacher

Son of one of the all-time greats, Michael Schumacher, Mick finds himself without an F1 seat at 24 years old. Haas contracted the 2020 F2 champion for the 2021 and 2022 F1 seasons. Like Sargeant so far, Schumacher was unable to score points in his rookie season and also cost the team a pretty penny in damages in his second year. The Haas cars that Schumacher was driving were not good racecars, and he wasn’t expected to do much with them, yet his time with the team is still considered by most to be disappointing. However, you can also say that Schumacher deserves another shot because of those circumstances. He was driving in one of the worst cars on the grid while trying to live up to the most famous surname in motorsports. Schumacher still has potential, and that’s been seen by Mercedes as he joined the team as a reserve driver for 2023. Toto Wolff, team principal of Mercedes, was rumored to have given data to his former colleague and now team principal of Williams, James Vowles, in an attempt to get Schumacher back into an F1 seat. However, Vowles was supposedly not moved by the information, making it unlikely that Schumacher is an option for next year.

Liam Lawson

Liam Lawson has been extremely impressive while filling in for the injured Daniel Riccardo this year, but with Riccardo and Tsunoda confirmed as the Alpha Tauri pairing for 2024, Lawson is without a drive. The current plan for the 21-year-old from New Zealand is to be a reserve driver for Red Bull and Alpha Tauri in 2024, but if the Williams seat is open, it could make sense for all parties involved to let Lawson drive for the British outfit. Williams gets an impressive driver, and Lawson gets seat time, which also benefits Red Bull as they’ll receive a more polished driver when he returns to Alpha Tauri for 2025. That’s also the problem, though, Williams might not want to kick out Sargeant for a driver who would only be at the team on a one-year loan. Red Bull team principal Christian Hoerner has said as much. Even with James Vowles' glowing reviews of Lawson, the deal seems unlikely due to its short-term nature. Still, it’s an interesting idea that Williams and Red Bull could come to fruition, even if it isn’t the most likely outcome.

Felipe Drugovich

In 2022, Felipe Drugovich’s third F2 season, he won the championship in dominating fashion. However, he wasn’t rewarded with a Formula 1 drive. Drugovich had to settle for becoming a member of the newly formed Aston Martin Young Drivers program (AMF1 Driver Development Programme) and taking on reserve driver roles for the team. An actual F1 seat is still the goal though for Drugovich, as evidenced by him turning down an IndyCar test before the 2023 season. Williams is rumored to be very high on Drugovich as a driver and seems to be Sargeant’s biggest challenger for the 2024 seat based on skill as well as all the sponsorship money Drugovich would bring in. There could be roadblocks, though. Even if Williams wants Drugovich, he might not be able to go to the team if he has a multiyear agreement with Aston Martin. Only time will tell in this case if Drugovich has a real shot of becoming the next Williams driver, but it seems more likely to be him than Lawson or Schumacher.  

Theo Pourchaire or Frederik Vesti

Pourchaire and Vesti are currently one and two in the F2 drivers’ standings, and both look like they’re going to miss out on a 2024 F1 drive. Pourchaire and Vesti are Sauber and Mercedes junior drivers, respectively, meaning a drive with Williams for either of these two would probably be more to get their feet wet in the category in order to prepare them for when Sauber or Mercedes needs them instead of a long-term commitment. I would say Vesti is more likely than Pourchaire due to the links between Mercedes and Williams, but a deal even for Vesti is unlikely for the same reason a deal with Lawson would be unlikely. Still, they are worth mentioning as they are young drivers who Williams management could want in their car. 

Lance Stroll or Sergio Perez

Stroll and Perez are not young drivers, and they both have F1 contracts for 2024, so why would I have them on my list? Well, both have had disappointing 2023 seasons: Stroll for Aston Martin and Perez for Red Bull. Stroll’s lack of performance, attitude issues and rumors of his father selling his stack in Aston Martin have given creation to rumors of him being removed from the team. Perez is second in the drivers’ standings, which sounds good, but he is more than 200 points behind his teammate Max Verstappen, and if another team can challenge Red Bull next year, Perez could be the difference between the team winning or losing a constructors’ championship. There have been weird rumors surrounding Perez lately, including a retirement rumor which he has denied. If Perez continues to disappoint, though, it wouldn’t be surprising if Red Bull gave him an early walk, as we have seen the team do it to drivers before. If Perez really doesn’t want to retire, in this hypothetical scenario, Williams would be his best option for continuing his career. 

Yes, both of these drivers have disappointed in 2023, but they both have the veteran experience that Williams might value. A lot would have to happen for either of these moves to come to fruition, and they are most definitely the wildest possibility on this list, but if either did become available, I imagine Williams would be interested. 

Nyck de Vries

Nyck de Vries was harshly released by Red Bull’s sister team, Alpha Tauri, after just 10 disappointing races with the team earlier this season. Part of the reason de Vries even got that job in the first place, though, was because of his amazing super sub performance at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix for Williams, where he beat his teammate and scored points for the team. If Williams believes that they can get that de Vries instead of Alpha Tauri de Vries, the move would probably be worth it. However, even if they do believe that, the move would be unlikely unless there is a clause in de Vries's new multi-year Formula E contract that would allow him to leave for an F1 team.

Logan Sargeant 

Really, all roads lead back to Sargeant. Unless there is a new development,, the American will likely be back in the Williams seat for 2024. The team might be waiting until the last minute for said development to arise, but unless one does, it’ll be Sargeant back in the car. James Vowles has publicly stated support for Sargeant; he might only be saying it for the press, but if he even bothers to say it, there’s not much point in speculating it’s a lie. Vowles has also said that Sargeant’s car doesn’t have the same aerodynamics package that his teammate Albon has. This could definitely be a big factor in Sargeant’s pace and inability to control the car. Yes, it would be interesting to see any of the drivers I’ve listed join the team, but Williams, despite a contract not being signed yet, seems to have their eyes set on Sargeant returning. That might not be the worst move either. Rookies have struggled in the past before figuring it out. F1 isn’t easy, and it really takes more than a year to evaluate driver talent. Williams is also invested in Sargeant as he was a member of the Williams Driver Academy. It would be a bad look for the academy if they dropped someone who came up the ranks after one disappointing year. 

Overall, when you consider what it would take for another driver to join the team and that it would likely be a driver who has intentions of leaving the team from the start, retaining Sargeant for at least another year makes sense. He might not be the best driver on the grid, but he’s young, potential-filled, and has the junior formula history you want to see in an F1 driver. All of these reasons combine to make me think that Logan Sargeant will fill the last remaining seat on the 2024 F1 grid, the Williams second seat. 

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