VALENCIA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 02: Zak O’Sullivan of Great Britain and Carlin Buzz Racing (25) prepares to drive in the garage during day two of Formula 3 testing at Circuit de Valencia on November 02, 2021 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
F3 Driver Profile: Zak O’Sullivan
The young Brit has joined the Williams' F1 Driver Academy for his maiden season in F3
Zak O’Sullivan, the newest recruit to Wiliams’ F1 Driver Academy, is racing in FIA Formula 3 this season for Carlin.
O’Sullivan began karting at age nine and continued for five years. During that time he won the British Super One Rookie Championship (2014) and the MSA Kartmasters British Grand Prix (2016).
Instead of making the switch right to single-seaters, the British driver entered the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2019. His car racing debut was a great success, finishing second in the championship as the highest placed rookie. He took three race wins and a total of 13 podiums.
From there, O’Sullivan switched to single-seaters. In 2020 he raced in the F4 British Championship with Carlin Racing. In this championship, he notched up a total of nine race wins, and a total of 18 podiums in 27 races.
He came close to winning the championship, about as close as anyone could have. After winning the final race, O’Sullivan had scored more points overall than his title rival Luke Browning and thus was crowned the champion for a brief time. But a red flag during the race meant that only half points were handed out, and once that ruling was made, Browning ended up in the points lead.
For 2021 Carlin Racing signed O’Sullivan to their GB3 team. It was here that he took his first championship win in single-seater racing. He competed against four drivers on the current F3 grid: Ayrton Simmons, Reece Ushijima, Oliver Bearman, and Hunter Yeany.
After taking his first win in the series during the second race of the season, O’Sullivan became the championship leader. He kept that lead for the rest of the season. Of his 14 podiums throughout, half were race wins. He ended up winning the title by 154 points over Simmons.
After a season of domination as a rookie, O’Sullivan was nominated for, and won, Autosport’s BRDC Award. The award is for outstanding young drivers from the UK, and he received the award over future fellow F3 drivers Bearman and Jonny Edgar. O’Sullivan also won the Jim Clark Award, given to him by the BRDC for winning the GB3 Championship.
In February of 2022, The Williams F1 Driver Academy announced that O’Sullivan would be their newest member. He joined W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick and F2 drivers Logan Sargeant and Roy Nissany in their young driver lineup.
Staying once again with Carlin, O’Sullivan made the step to FIA Formula 3. In the first round at Bahrain, he qualified 12th. This put him in place to receive reverse grid pole for the Sprint Race, and he maintained the lead at first. But in a slightly slower car than those behind him, O’Sullivan eventually fell down the order and finished sixth.
After one round of the championship, he sits 11th in the standings. As a junior driver for Williams, he’ll hope to impress in his debut season in F3 and attract the attention of teams for next season in either F3 or F2.
Feature Image Credit: Getty Images
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