Zak O’Sullivan says he hopes the Silverstone weekend will be a turning point in Carlin’s 2022 campaign. So far, the British outfit has accumulated 13 points this season to sit eighth in the Teams’ Standings.
All 13 points have been scored by O’Sullivan, who admits that the year hasn’t gone as hoped for the team. Ahead of the Silverstone weekend, he said that while there have been signs of progress lately, the car still needs to be improved upon.
“I think it’s somewhat going in the right direction. It’s not ideal the situation we find ourselves in. We thought the season would have gone slightly better than it has so far. We’re trying to regroup and find a different direction to go into and try to improve the car as much as possible. Hopefully it starts to gel a bit more from now onwards but there’s no guarantee.”
The British driver has scored two sixth-place finishes so far this year, one coming at the season opening round in Sakhir and the second around Imola, where conditions were far from perfect for the drivers.
In terms of the biggest challenges facing the Carlin team and the drivers, O’Sullivan indicated that it was down to the tight field spread in Formula 3 this season. He also added that he’s hoping for some changeable conditions that can often occur during the British summertime.
“As a team, we’ve been struggling quite a bit with the car to get it into a proper working window. I think we’ve had flashes of strong pace, particularly at Imola in the wet, so I’m hoping for a bit more rain this weekend. We’re working on it. It’s not a short process unfortunately but we’ll see what we can do.
“I’d say it was the closeness of the field. It doesn’t take much of a mistake in Qualifying to drop you down a row or two on the grid. Even if you feel like you’re pretty close to the front, there’s always another 15 to 20 cars in the mix. Any kind of small mistake or hinderance can cost you pretty badly.”
With a best Qualifying position this season of P8 at Imola, O’Sullivan is aiming for more of the same at his home venue.
Around a circuit in which he has plenty of experience having been on the podium multiple times already in his career, including the top step during his title-winning GB3 campaign last season, O’Sullivan is excited at the prospect of racing at home this weekend.
With multiple visits to Silverstone already under his belt, the 17-year-old hopes to turn that into something of a home advantage along with the British fans in the grandstands.
“It means a lot. It’s the home race for the team and also Williams. It’s a cool track. I think we’re lucky enough as British drivers to have a really cool home race so hopefully we can put on a show.
“It’s really cool. I think I’m lucky enough to have done about as much running as the other British drivers around here, so I think we’ve got a bit of a home advantage. It’s one of the only old school tracks still on the calendar, really high speed, quite like Zandvoort actually with the middle sector and Maggotts and Becketts and Stowe. I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s really cool on a Qualifying lap but the long DRS zones should also provide some racing still. Hopefully it lives up to expectations. Obviously with the fans, it’s pretty much rammed and even on Thursday there’s a queue to get into the track so I’m looking forward to seeing them all on Saturday and Sunday.”