Academy Report: Wins, debuts and final rounds for our young racers

Published on
04 Mar 2024
Est. reading time
4 Min

Six members of our Driver Academy were in action this past weekend, here’s how they fared

Bahrain wasn't just the start of the racing season for Alex and Logan, with some of the Williams Racing Driver Academy firing into action for the first time in 2024.
What a start to the season for our starlets, too, with solid performances, a front-row start, and a dominant victory kicking off our entries to F1's support series.
Formula 2 had an all-new chassis for the entire 22-car field, with Zak O'Sullivan and Franco Colapinto stepping up to the second tier.
Meanwhile, Luke Browning brought his magnificent Macau GP form to his second season in Formula 3.
Here's how our Academy drivers finished after their time at the Bahrain International Circuit and beyond.

Formula 2

Zak O'Sullivan

The 2023 F3 vice-champion was just 0.099s off pole position in his first F2 qualifying session, yet that only earned a P6 start in such a tight field, but Zak could fight in the top 10 over both races.
A gamble on Pirelli's hard tyre in the Sprint had the 19-year-old racer slip back slightly to finish his maiden F2 race in an admirable P7.
The Feature was even more impressive for Zak, and a lightning start had him jump from sixth to second in a single lap.
He eventually finished less than a second away from a podium position in P4 despite two Safety Car periods disrupting the race.

Franco Colapinto

F2's quality shone through in Thursday's qualifying, and even though Franco's time was only 0.477s from pole, he would begin his two races from P15 in the grid.
An incorrect car placement led to a stop-go penalty to end any hopes of points in the Sprint, but our Argentine hopeful made up for that in the Feature.
Like Zak, a sublime start had Franco advance through the order on Lap 1, and he ended the first tour of the Sahkir circuit six places higher before the Safety Car emerged.
A late surge following the second Safety Car period had Franco fighting through to finish P5, including an overtake on his MP Motorsport teammate who had raced a different strategy.

Formula 3

Luke Browning

A second season in Formula 3 began in style for Luke, the championship's early leader, after he cruised to his first Feature Race victory in the series.
Much of that work came from his stellar qualifying efforts, where he parked his Hitech Pulse-Eight car on the front row with a P2 time over a second faster than his two teammates.
Although he fell backwards during the Sprint Race, there was no questioning his pace during the Feature, and our 22-year-old Brit managed to lead from lights to flag after a technical issue hit polesitter Dino Beganovic.
Luke soaked up the pressure from behind throughout all 22 laps, and his victory never looked in doubt, even with the chasing cars remaining in the DRS window.

F1 Academy

Lia Block

There’s less than one week to go before Lia Block makes her competitive F1 Academy debut.
Last weekend saw our American racer compete for the last time in the Formula Winter Series, completing her preparation for the season ahead.
Sadly, luck was not on her side in Aragon, not getting the reward she deserved for her best Qualifying result in the FWS of P26.
Her focus now switches to Jeddah.


Oleksandr Bondarev

Our Ukrainian ace Oleksandr Bondarev ended his Super Master Series campaign in Sarno over the weekend, where he secured the vice-champion title.
Although the results from the prefinal meant the championship title wasn't within reach, a tight battle in the final where Bondi secured a P3 finish was enough for the 14-year-old racer to take P2 in the standings.
Focus now turns to the European karting season as his busy 2024 continues.

Sara Matsui

The Super Master Series quartet of races also ended in the OKN Junior category for Sara Matsui.
Four challenging days of fighting in the mid-pack saw Sara learn plenty of racecraft for the upcoming year, and she can be proud of her championship position.
With 49 classified karters in the standings, her P11 finish sees Sara as one of the top racers of her category, leaving her well-prepared for the F1 Academy-backed Champions of the Future Academy karting series that starts at the end of March.
Formula 2 will stay with F1 to support the Saudi Arabian GP, with Franco and Zak having Lia Block join them as the F1 Academy season kicks off in Jeddah.
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