ART Grand Prix rookie Zak O’Sullivan can barely hide his excitement as he readies himself for his debut season in Formula 2. The Williams Academy driver recently previewed the year ahead as he explained why he believes fighting for the Championship in 2024 is possible.

O’Sullivan enjoyed a stellar second – and final – season in Formula 3 last year, scoring a grid-leading four victories on his way to finishing as the runner-up in the Drivers’ Championship with PREMA Racing.

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He also took part in FP1 for Williams at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix before returning a few days later for the young drivers’ test, as well as the post-season F2 outing, all at the same Yas Marina venue. He now makes the step up to Formula 2, describing his rookie campaign as a “big event”.

O’Sullivan’s is not just adapting to a new Championship and a new car; he will also be acclimatising himself to new surroundings as he races in ART colours for the first time in his career. He talked through his adjustment process so far as he jokingly admits to needing to brush up on his French.

OSullivan drove for Williams at FP1 at Abu Dhabi and at the post-season test
O'Sullivan drove for Williams at FP1 at Abu Dhabi and at the post-season test

“From my side switching to a new team in ART, it has been kind of incorporating myself,” O’Sullivan explained. “Integrating myself to the way they work, so plenty of trips down to Paris to get to know everyone, preparing as much as I can.

“Of course, I did the post-season test with last year's car, which is very useful as it gives you a first indication of F2, what it’s about and I think from the shakedown we get a bit of an idea of this year's car.

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“So, the preparation is a bit different to a normal season because of the new car, but as much I can kind of do, I've been trying to prepare.”

He later added: “It’s something different working with ART. Of course, some teams you bond very well with, other teams it might take a bit more time. I think the teams will somewhat reflect their nationality.

“So, I've been with a British team, an Italian team, now a French team, so for me it's always interesting seeing the different ways of working. Obviously, all the teams are striving for the same goal but there are different methods behind that.

OSullivan got a first look at the new F2 car at the shakedown in Barcelona
O'Sullivan got a first look at the new F2 car at the shakedown in Barcelona

“But so far, I've really enjoyed my time at ART, enjoyed the way they work, and we seem to be working in quite a similar way from the start which is nice and hopefully it will be a strong relationship.”

ART enter the season as reigning Champions having won the Teams’ title in 2023. O’Sullivan also steps into the seat vacated by last year’s top prize-winner Théo Pourchaire, and to partner last season’s leading rookie Victor Martins. Some may see it as a lot to live up to, but the 18-year-old sees it as nothing but a positive.

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“It’s the opposite of pressure,” says O’Sullivan. “I know I've got quite a good package underneath me, judging on the results from last year. I think Victor as well is a very good reference, he was very quick last season throughout the year.

“He had some wins, some poles, so in that sense I’m confident going into the season that I have quite a good framework that I have to work and develop. Won't say its pressure, it's a new car as well for everyone, so it’s a bit of a shot in the dark but I would rather be going into the season with a team I know who can deliver rather than the other way round.”

OSullivan has set his sights on fighting for the title in 2024 with ART
O'Sullivan has set his sights on fighting for the title in 2024 with ART

O’Sullivan explains that the work and development he has to do are to work through the “small details and small processes,” especially at pre-season testing. He placed a huge importance on working hard behind the scenes in a bid to hit the ground running at the opener in Bahrain.

If he does all of the right things, he believes the results will follow and that ultimately may help him achieve his goal for the year.

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“I think always everyone wants to fight for the Championship,” reveals O’Sullivan. “I see no reason why it shouldn't be possible. Of course, there is some adaptation to do but I think as long as I do everything correctly on my side, we work well as a team, I see no reason why it’s not possible.

“Of course, it's a very long season and consistency is key across 14 rounds. So, not putting any bets on it but I think provided I do all my steps and we work well together then a fight for the Championship is not out of the realm of possibility.”