Cheltenham driver racing for Williams F1 wins BRDC Young Driver of the Year

Zak O’Sullivan

Williams FI Racing Academy Driver Zak O’Sullivan was named winner of the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) Young Driver of the Year award last night. The young driver, who lives near Cheltenham and attended Cheltenham College, claimed the prestigious accolade after impressing in a series of evaluations, which included fitness and simulator elements and a two-day test at Silverstone.

The award, which he collected on his 17th birthday, tops off a memorable few days for Zak, after confirming his 2022 FIA Formula 3 campaign and joining the Williams Racing Driver Academy on Friday.

Zak O’Sullivan in carZak was nominated for the coveted award following a stellar performance in his debut GB3 season, which saw him claim the 2021 Championship title with a 164-point margin over his nearest challenger. The young driver secured seven wins and 14 podium finishes on his way to the trophy, also claiming the most pole positions across the 24-round series.

Cheltenham-based Zak’s love of speed was clear from a young age. Zak started karting aged 9 and perfected his racecraft on the kart tracks of Europe. Winning 3 out of his first 5 races, Zak was dubbed “Rain Man” for his speed in the wet.

Previous winners of the esteemed award include Williams Racing Brand Ambassador and 2009 F1 World Champion, Jenson Button, as well as former Williams drivers George Russell and David Coulthard.

Zak said: “I was incredibly happy with the nomination and really enjoyed the evaluation experience in October, so to go home with the prize is the icing on the cake. It’s a massive achievement for a young driver like myself who is still developing their career. So many past Formula One drivers have won the award, so I’m very proud to be on that list.”

Sven Smeets, Williams Racing Sporting Director, added “I want to congratulate Zak on behalf of everyone at Williams Racing on winning such a prestigious award. He is an incredibly worthy recipient, having demonstrated his capabilities across all areas and confirming his comprehensive ability. I’m delighted that the panel have recognised and acknowledged the same talent in him that we have.”