Williams will continue to give struggling rookie Logan Sargeant more time to prove he deserves to keep his race seat in 2024.
In Qatar, already on notice after a series of crashes and incidents, the 22-year-old spun out of the sprint shootout, and in the main race had to retire with heat stroke and dehydration.
But team boss James Vowles says Sargeant still has time to shine.
“No, I suspect it’ll be to the end of the season,” he said when asked if Williams might fast-forward its decision about the identity of Alex Albon’s teammate next year.
“I think we’ve already committed to the direction of travel we’re in, he has targets to that and it’d be wrong to go against that decision point,” Vowles added.
“So – end of the year.”
Vowles says he is talking to Sargeant about the situation “multiple times a week”, and insists that the good news is that “the pace is there”.
“That’s the thing that we wouldn’t be able to fix or repair,” said the former Mercedes strategy boss. “But what happens is, when it comes down to the crunch time, there are elements of inconsistency that creep in.”
“What we have is a responsibility to invest in our rookie drivers,” Vowles added. “We’ve put him there, and we’ve given him nearly no testing mileage.”
“But what we want to see is continued progress and now a focus on making sure we keep that consistency in there, which will then deliver results.”
“He knows how to win,” Vowles said of Sargeant. “He’s won in Formula 3, won in Formula 2 but applying that now in Formula 1 and not achieving results creates more and more frustration – and then that ends up with over-driving, fundamentally.”