Prema’s Oliver Bearman and Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan are two of 16 rookies that make their debut at a track that makes its Formula 3 debut, Bahrain. Both have massive expectations due to being members of F1 Academy teams but are in very relaxed moods ahead of their big weekend. The two spoke to selected media including F1 Feeder Series to discuss the start of the season.
By Charlie Parker
At the end of last season, Trevor Carlin announced that the F3 team would go under a restructure after finishing dead last in the teams championship. This would be led by three rookies, including brand new Williams Academy member O’Sullivan, but there isn’t any extra pressure to turn things around.
“Compared to other seasons there’s a lot less pressure on me. Obviously, it’s not a secret that Carlin weren’t the best team in F3 last year so it’s very tricky for me to put any position expectations. The last two years I’ve signed for them they’ve won the teams and drivers’ championship the year before. The target has always been to win the championship, this year is pretty different. Any expectations will come after round one, when we’ll have a good idea of where we are, how much progress we’ve made from last year. I’d say it’s more important where we finish the season.”
After spending the post and pre-season tests with the Carlin team, O’Sullivan has had six days (well five and a half because of a sandstorm that brought an end to preseason testing) of getting used to the car, that is where the pressure is coming from: “As drivers we always have a bit of pressure but we have an all-rookie line-up. I’m learning as fast as possible, luckily all three of us have similar feedback on the car and what we need to improve upon, we are all in unison. Hopefully we lead the team in the right direction and make some progress.”
On the other side, there is high buzz and expectations for Prema’s brand new rookie. Like O’Sullivan, Bearman has recently joined an F1 Academy, the Ferrari Driver Academy. Bearman joins a top team looking to regain the teams’ championship from Trident. Prema will be led by second year drivers Arthur Leclerc and Jak Crawford, but Bearman is a fan favourite and is seen as a dark horse candidate for the title and the Brit knows where he needs to be: “Being the only rookie in Prema, it gives me a nice baseline. The two of my teammates are at a high level already. To have their data and experience and a few things like queries to answer which is nice. I know where I need to be. As fast as them.”
But it’s an overall relaxed mood from the Chelmsford, England born Bearman who has good relationships with a few of his counterparts, both on and off the track including Trident’s Jonny Edgar: “I am quite close to Jonny . I followed in his footsteps in F4, I had his engineer and his mechanics and everyone. I have a lot of funny stories about Jonny. I was copying his data all year. I got to know him quite well in the Autosport awards, as well as Zak. I’m sure there will be some rivalries on track with quite a few people but that’s one of the, we’re quite good friends off the track, I’m sure on the track nothing changes but it’s nice to have.”
The F3 season will get underway this weekend at Bahrain, as we will finally get to see some racing.
Header photo credit: Prema Racing
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