Williams Racing Academy Driver Zak O’Sullivan will take part in the first Free Practice session at the 2023 Formula 1® Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The 2023 Formula 3 Vice Champion will get behind the wheel of Alex Albon’s FW45 at Yas Marina Circuit for the hour session. Zak’s outing, his first in the FW45, fulfills the team’s second and final mandated rookie driver session this season.
Zak will also take part in this year’s end-of-season Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, sharing driving duties across the course of the day with fellow Academy driver Franco Colapinto. The Argentinian driver will get his first taste of a Formula 1 car during the test following his debut in Formula 2 with MP Motorsport in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
After successful seasons in Formula 3, in which Zak and Franco tied the all-time record for most wins in the championship (4), both Academy drivers will be stepping up into Formula 2 for 2024 with Zak competing for ART Grand Prix and Franco with MP Motorsport.
Zak’s 2023 season included four victories with two Feature Race wins and two Sprint wins, along with one pole position and a further podium finish, resulting in second place in the Championship. The British driver joined the Williams Racing Driver Academy in 2022 and has most notably won the prestigious Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.
Franco’s second season in F3 saw him finish fourth in the driver standings after claiming two Sprint victories and a total of five podium finishes. Franco has been a part of the Driver Academy since the start of 2023 and has impressive credentials, with his most notable achievements including becoming the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series Rookie of the Year and winning the 2019 Spanish Formula 4 Championship.
Williams Racing Formula 1 drivers Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant will split driving duties in the FW45 as part of the end of season testing in Abu Dhabi.
Sven Smeets, Sporting Director, Williams Racing: “Both Zak and Franco have had impressive seasons in Formula 3 and we’re now looking forward to giving them the opportunity to drive the FW45 in Abu Dhabi to aid their development as part of their roles in the Williams Racing Driver Academy. The pair have demonstrated a high level of understanding and maturity during their simulator work conducted at Grove. I know they'll both be working hard in preparation for this experience and will make the most of it.”
Zak O’Sullivan: “I’m really excited to participate in FP1 at Abu Dhabi. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the FW45 for the first time and get some good mileage under my belt. In addition to that, I’m returning to the car for the post-season rookie test to further my development with the team. Huge thanks to Williams Racing for the opportunity and for putting their faith in me to drive the 2023 car.”
Franco Colapinto: “I am extremely grateful to Williams Racing for giving me the opportunity to drive an F1 car in only my first year in the Academy. I’ve been dreaming of this day since I was a kid and have been working really hard for this. To have this chance at the official young driver test is a real honour. Thank you to the team for entrusting me with the FW45. Being part of the Academy this year has opened my eyes in so many different areas and I feel ready to make this step. I can’t wait.”