Another British star has paved their road to F1 with the announcement that the reigning GB3 champion Zak O’Sullivan will join the Williams Racing Academy as well as Carlin in FIA F3. So, what made Williams choose O’Sullivan?
By Charlie Parker
16-year-old Zak O’Sullivan, who has a dual nationality of British and Irish, found success early on in karting, winning the 2015 MSA Kartmasters British Grand Prix. O’Sullivan made the trip to European Kart races in 2017, coming 12th in the CIK-FIA European Championship. Then in 2018, O’Sullivan finished second in the junior class of the German Karting Championship.
In 2019, he made the step up to cars, finishing second in the Ginetta Junior Championship. In 2020 he finished second in British F4, losing out to Luke Browning despite being originally crowned the champion having won the last race of the season, but stewards decided to only reward half points due to a red flag. This meant Browning finished three points ahead of O’Sullivan.
He picked up his first single seater championship in GB3 in 2021, getting the lead of the championship straight away and never looking back. Seven wins and six second place finishes led to a F3 test as a prize for winning the championship.
The 16-year-old spoke to F1 Feeder Series straight after the F3 test saying that F3 was the “next logical step up” and that he’s “learnt enough in GB3 this year and from the test”. Now that step is a reality after the announcement that he will drive for Carlin.
Expectations will be tempered for O’Sullivan due to the lack of success Carlin have found in F3 as of late, finishing ninth in the constructors championship in 2019, eighth in 2020 and dead last in 2021.
There is a chance he will take the same route fellow Brit Jonny Edgar took, spending the first year in the Carlin and then stepping up to a better team in the second year.
Williams Racing Academy
O’Sullivan joins someone who he is familiar with in the Williams Racing Academy. He spent the F3 test with Logan Sargeant in the Carlin and he told F1 Feeder Series: “He’s a known commodity in F3, so it was good to chat to him. See what F3 is all about and what to look for. I think I learnt a lot from him.”
The move makes sense. The GB3 champion is a British-Irish racing driver who has found success in British karting and British single-seaters and Williams is a British F1 team looking to form a legitimate drivers academy; it’s a match made in heaven.
The FIA F3 Championship is only just over a month away, starting on the 18th of March in Sakhir.
Header photo credit: Williams Racing