Zak and Franco to drive our FW45 in Abu Dhabi

Published on
01 Nov 2023
Est. reading time
3 Min

Williams Racing Academy Drivers to participate in Abu Dhabi FP1 session and Young Driver Test

Williams Racing Academy Driver Zak O’Sullivan will take part in the first Free Practice session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, getting behind the wheel of Alex Albon’s FW45.
Zak’s outing, his first in the FW45, fulfils the team’s second and final mandated rookie driver session this season.
The 2023 Formula 3 Vice Champion will also take part in the end-of-season Young Driver Test at Yas Marina Circuit, 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.
The pair enjoyed huge success in Formula 3 this season.
The pair enjoyed huge success in Formula 3 this season.
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.
“I’m really excited to participate in FP1 at Abu Dhabi,” the 18-year-old shared following the announcement.
“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.”
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.
Join Zak's journey
Sign up, unlock your very own Driver Card and get all the latest news and announcements.
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.
“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,” our Argentinian racer reacted, adding: “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.”
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.
Follow Franco's journey
Sign up, unlock your very own Driver Card and get all the latest news and announcements.
Our 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, concluded our reaction to the announcement by sharing: “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.”
Get your Grid Pass
Collect your free pass and unlock immediate exclusive digital and physical perks, plus access to unique Williams Racing experiences
Contact & Media
Store Location
Stay in the Loop
Powered By
© the Williams Group, under licence to Williams IP Holdings LLC
Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited is a company registered in England and Wales under company number 1297497. Its registered office is at Grove, Wantage, Oxfordshire, OX12 0DQ
Powered By