Sargeant: ‘Wouldn’t have been here if I won’ 2020 F3 title

When he missed out on the F3 championship by just four points in 2020, Logan Sargeant was frustrated. Reflecting on that dramatic ending on the Feeder Series Podcast, the 21-year-old believes that winning the title that year would have closed the doors that led him to an F1 seat with Williams Racing for 2023.

By Jakub Czekalski

Driving for Prema Racing in 2020, Sargeant stood on the podium six times, taking top step at Silverstone and Spa. Going into the final two rounds at Monza and Mugello, Sargeant was in contention for the championship and needed strong results. In the first race at Monza, the American driver was spun around by Clément Novalak at Variante della Roggia on Lap 14 and scored zero points.

Starting 26th for Race 2, Sargeant tore through the field. He was battling for fifth place with teammate Frederik Vesti on Lap 19 of 22 when he lunged down the inside at Variante Ascari and clipped Vesti’s front wing with his right-rear tyre, terminally damaging both cars. Having scored no points in Monza, Sargeant dropped to second in the championship, eight points behind teammate Oscar Piastri, ahead of the Mugello round.

The F1 Feeder Series Podcast featuring Tatiana Calderón is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts

‘All or nothing’ in Mugello finale

On the latest episode of the Feeder Series Podcast, Sargeant gave an insight into his mindset entering that final round at Mugello.

“The pressure wasn’t honestly there because I made a mistake in Monza, in the sprint race, when I had probably the race of my life until about three laps to go and crashed with my teammate. But to be honest, Mugello, I was behind going into the round, so it was pretty much like, ‘Okay, I’m behind, so it’s all or nothing here.’

Sargeant qualified second in Mugello behind German driver Lirim Zendeli. Title rival Oscar Piastri qualified 11th but started 16th after being handed a five-place grid penalty for forcing David Beckmann off the track in Monza. Sargeant finished Race 1 in sixth and scored eight points to bring him level with Piastri, who scored zero that day, at the top of the championship.

But Race 2 was an unlucky affair for the American driver, who didn’t manage to complete a lap. He was sandwiched between Zendeli and Sebastián Fernández entering Turn 2 and collided with the former, retiring from the race and bowing out of the title showdown.

“It was a weird incident, honestly. I can’t even really tell you exactly what happened. I never watched it again; I didn’t want to see it again,” Sargeant said. “It all went wrong and at that point … I’d had enough to even care. I was like, ‘What can you do?’ It was past the point of obviously a crazy amount of frustration, but it was so much frustration where I had to just let it go.”

All that glitters is not gold

Ultimately, Sargeant finished third in the championship after a stellar end to the season from Théo Pourchaire lifted the French driver to second, one point ahead of Sargeant.

Title winners cannot return to F3, so by not winning the championship, Sargeant was still eligible to compete for another year. Just before the 2021 season started, Charouz Racing System gave him a last-minute chance to return to F3 and rekindle a junior career that appeared doomed just a few months before.

“To be honest, it didn’t really bother me too much even going into the following year because whether I’d won that championship or not, I wasn’t going to be able to move into F2. Ultimately, I guess everything happens for a reason because I probably wouldn’t have been here if I won that championship,” Sargeant said. “Obviously in the moment it was super disappointing, but looking back at it, maybe it was for the better. You have to try and spin it and look at the positive of it.”

Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

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