Zak O’Sullivan on his 2022: ‘My life hit a new level’

Zak O’Sullivan analyses his 2022 season, covering all of his successes and struggles in a special column for F1 Feeder Series. He also discusses his expectations and preparation with Prema for 2023.

By Zak O’Sullivan

I’m back… and there’s lots to talk about! It’s been a good few months since I last picked up my pen and paper for you guys, but as we head towards the end of 2022 and into the Christmas holidays, I thought it would be the perfect time for my third feature column.
Back in August, I wrote about our podium in Zandvoort. before looking ahead to the final round in Monza, aiming to finish the season on a high. Whilst we didn’t quite achieve the results we hoped for, I loved the whole spectacle and atmosphere of the event… and the track really is as special as they say.

I’ve spoken openly already about how this season didn’t go quite as we had envisioned. With a number of difficult weekends and some frustrations throughout, the expectations we set pre-season were not all met. Nonetheless, we worked hard on and off track to deliver to the best of my ability, and it was such an amazing feeling to see it pay off in Silverstone and Zandvoort with those podiums.

There wasn’t long to rest and recuperate after the season ended, though, with F3 post-season testing following the next week. For this, I teamed up with 2022 teams’ champions Prema, who you now all know I will be racing with in 2023! The test was a great opportunity to get to know the team, as well as my new teammates Paul [Aron] and Dino [Beganovic]. The car felt good to drive, and I was really pleased with the progress we made over the three days. I am so excited to see what we can achieve together next season.

Into October, my life hit a whole new level when the day finally arrived for my F1 test debut. As a prize for winning the BRDC Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award, I was given the opportunity to drive a hybrid-era car around my home track at Silverstone. I know you’ve heard it a million times before… but it genuinely was the most incredible experience. For me, the biggest thing was the sheer power of the machine, as well as its complexity. After I got the hang of things, I felt comfortable in the car and was able to properly send it lap after lap. The only negatives of the experience were the fact it eventually had to end… and also the very sore neck the next day! I am so thankful to everyone who enabled that opportunity to happen, and I hope to do it again sometime soon!

Before I turn my attention to the future and 2023, I also wanted to highlight how fantastic my first season as a Williams Academy driver has been. The team have been more welcoming than I could ever imagine, and they have genuinely involved me in so much of their racing and media opportunities so that I can learn and understand how an F1 team functions. I am looking forward to continuing this into next year.

In 2023 I hope to be back towards the front end of the grid on a more regular basis, and with Prema’s fantastic track record, I believe we can do it. I am so grateful for the support from all of you this past year, and as we look towards my second F3 season, I hope you will come along with me for the ride.

Header photo credit: Prema Content Pool

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