GB3 CHAMPION Zak O’Sullivan has been selected as a member of the Williams Racing Driver Academy, joining the legendary Formula One team at just 16 years of age following an impressive junior career so far.
It has also been announced that Zak will compete in the 2022 FIA Formula 3 Championship for Carlin, a team he has enjoyed a successful two seasons within British single seaters.
Zak is one of the foremost young talents in motorsport, having recently been crowned GB3 Champion after an extraordinary debut season in the category, securing seven wins and 14 podium finishes on his way to the trophy.
The Cheltenham-born racer’s notable consistency through the season saw him eclipse his nearest championship rival by an impressive margin of 164 points. 2021 also saw the Brit become the youngest BRDC Superstar in history, as well as being nominated for the renowned Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award, the result of which will be revealed at the Autosport Awards on Sunday evening.
As one of the most celebrated and successful Formula One teams of all time, Williams Racing will prove an ideal environment for Zak to learn and grow.
In his role as an Academy Driver, Zak will be fully integrated into the team, both trackside and at the factory at Grove, Oxfordshire, where he will conduct simulator work and provide effective feedback for car development.
The team will support Zak’s growth as a driver through this work, along with honing the other skills needed to be a top-line racing driver, including human performance and marketing disciplines.
Speaking about the announcement, Zak said,
“I’m honoured to have been selected as a Williams Racing Academy Driver. This is an incredible opportunity and I can't thank Jost, Sven and the whole team enough for their faith in me. Williams Racing is one of the most successful and respected teams in Formula One and have nurtured some of the greatest talents in the sport.
I’m also so pleased to be continuing my relationship with Carlin and stepping up to FIA F3 with them this season. This will be my third year working with the team and I am looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
Sven Smeets, Williams Racing Sporting Director, added “We are all very pleased to welcome Zak to the Williams Racing Driver Academy. His incredibly successful GB3 Championship campaign speaks to his natural talent, and the team can attest to his capability, drive and professionalism having seen him drive the simulator in Grove.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing him take on FIA Formula 3 next year; I know he’ll prove a formidable competitor. We’re now looking forward to working alongside Zak to support his development and progression, a role that we’re proud to play in a talented young driver’s career.”
NEWS 📣 I am so proud and honoured to announce that I have joined the @WilliamsRacing Driver Academy! This is an incredible opportunity and I can't thank Jost, Sven and the whole team enough for putting their faith in me. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/dEWfkWKAWl
— Zak O'Sullivan (@ZakOSullivan) February 4, 2022
Driving for Carlin in the FIA Formula 3 Championship, Zak will take on the challenges of a new car, a whole host of new tracks and the excitement of being on the Formula One support package.
As part of his prize as GB3 Champion, O’Sullivan has taken part in FIA Formula 3 post-season testing with Carlin so has already had the opportunity to get himself up to speed in the Dallara chassis. He will next be behind the wheel in early March, when official pre-season testing gets underway in Bahrain, before the nine-round, 18-race season begins two weeks later at the same circuit.
Speaking about the announcement and Zak’s return to the Farnham-based outfit, Carlin Team Principal Trevor Carlin said: “It’s clear that Williams Racing have recognised the same talent and potential in Zak that we have and we’re delighted that he has chosen to stay with us for the move up to Formula 3.
We’ve enjoyed two very successful seasons together so we know exactly how much effort and dedication Zak puts into everything he does. I know that he’s going to be using that same approach this year and we’ll be fighting hard so that together we can deliver.”