Academy Report: Taking Silverware in Spain

Published on
24 Jun 2024
Est. reading time
4 Min

Franco led the charge in Barcelona in a busy weekend for our Academy

The Barcelona GP weekend saw the Williams Racing Driver Academy hitting the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as all three F1 feeder championships featured on support billing.
Our young drivers delivered podiums, personal best finishes, and points under the Spanish sun on Saturday and Sunday.
Williams Racing representatives also took to the Hungaroring and the Slovak Karting Center in a busy weekend for the Academy. Here's how everyone fared.
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Formula 2

Franco Colapinto
Franco returned to the podium for the second time in 2024, with a P2 finish in Sunday's Feature Race to net our Argentine driver a solid points haul.
His P3 qualification was just 0.006s from pole position, but Franco used the high starting place to remain in the hunt throughout the 37-lap race.
Battling fellow South American Gabriel Bortoleto at the start and during VSC restarts kept Franco occupied.
Yet he was the one to net a hard-fought podium spot, even keeping enough tyre life to defend from a late-charging Juan Manuel Correa.
Saturday's Sprint Race saw track limit violations for many drivers, including Franco, who dropped back to P18 after receiving a 10-second penalty.
Zak O'Sullivan
The fine margins on display in qualifying that narrowly separated Franco from pole also affected Zak O'Sullivan, who was just 0.026s away from a reverse grid P1 start.
His P12 qualification, unfortunately, meant the British hopeful would be in the midpack for both races, dealing with a DRS train in Saturday's Sprint Race and degrading tyres in Sunday's Feature.
Nonetheless, Zak kept his cool and didn't receive track limits penalties or fall off the circuit in either race.
He eventually finished one position from points in the Sprint Race with a P9 classification, while an early gamble to pit for the hard compound tyre in the Feature didn't pay off, and the Monaco race winner crossed the line 15th.

Formula 3

Luke Browning
Consistent Sunday drives have kept Luke Browning in the top spots of the F3 championship standings all season, and that continued in Spain with a P5 finish in the Feature Race.
A P4 qualification meant Luke was at the sharp end to secure more points, and he outdrove Nikola Tsolov early in the race with DRS assistance to advance to P3.
Sadly, a last-lap battle had Luke's Hitech needing to run wide at Turn 3, and he dropped two positions but still picked up the Fastest Lap to leave Barcelona with 11 more points for his title fight.
Saturday saw a poor start that had Luke drop out of the top 10, but he remains P2 in the championship, just five points from the top.

F1 Academy

Lia Block
After securing her first single-seater point in Miami, Lia Block seemed determined to keep that upward trajectory by completing two more top-10 finishes this weekend.
A season-best qualification had Lia starting in P8 and P6 for Saturday's Race 1 and Sunday's Race 2, respectively, and she remained in the point-scoring positions all weekend.
The long Safety Car period in Race 1 had her stuck behind Tina Haussman during the opening laps, and a race-long fight between the pair finally had Lia cross the line in P10.
Haussmann was on the other side of Lia's car in Sunday's Lap 1, though, and by fending her off and then overtaking Jess Edgar with the slipstream later in the race, Lia could close the gap to teammate Bianca Bustamante.
With Bustmante carrying a five-second penalty, Lia's persistence and consistency paid off, and she crossed the line in P7 but 4.962s behind the Filipina, meaning a season-best P6 finish.


Alessandro Giusti
A solid points haul for Alessandro Giusti has kept the Frenchman in the upper championship positions as he raced around Budapest's Hungaroring this weekend.
Somehow, both the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine's races were dry despite torrential rain battering the circuit over the race weekend, but the racing was still unpredictable.
Race 1 saw Alessandro qualifying in P4, the position where he finished, but it was far from easy, as a five-car fight in the closing laps had drivers battling on and beyond the track.
A post-race penalty in Race 2 meant a demotion from P6 to P7. Nonetheless, Alessandro learned plenty of racecraft from his wheel-to-wheel moments against Pedro Clerot and Enzo Deligny, and he leaves Hungary P4 in the standings.


Oleksandr Bondarev
Oleksandr Bondarev took part in the European Championship's third round at Bratislava's Slovak Karting Center with a busy weekend of karting.
However, consistent top-10 efforts during the qualifying heats sadly didn't transfer to Sunday's last event.
A P20 start in the final ended without any laps completed as Bondi suffered a DNF in a challenging weekend for our Ukrainian teenager.
It's a hectic summer for our hopefuls, with this Spanish GP weekend kicking off non-stop Academy action.
Our F2 and F3 trio will join us in Austria next weekend, and July will see Alessandro heading to Mugello and Bondi to Motorland Aragon. Meanwhile, Lia has an F1 Academy break until Zandvoort in August.
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