Gloucestershire’s Zak O’Sullivan says he is raring to go for his next step on the single-seater ladder, as he returns to the track for the opening rounds of the 2021 BRDC British F3 Championship at Brands Hatch this weekend.

After an extensive winter testing programme, the Withington driver is taking on his second season in open-wheelers, reuniting with the Carlin team with whom he finished runner-up in the 2020 British F4 championship.

The 16-year-old took his first F4 pole and a double race win on the longer Brands GP circuit last year and is looking to emulate that performance as he steps up to the faster F3 machinery in 2021.

Zak described the move to British F3 as the “natural step” between F4 and the FIA Formula 3 Championship, which takes place on Formula One weekends in front of a global audience.

Looking ahead to the season, O’Sullivan said: “You can’t draw too many conclusions from testing but progress has definitely been made and it has given me time to adapt to the car.

"Winter testing is one thing and the first race is another."

“The biggest difference in the F3 car is the high-speed aero but that hasn’t been such an issue to learn. The biggest thing to learn has actually been the brakes, as the fronts are close to those on the FIA F3 car and the rears are glorified road car brakes!”

Zak said he would be continuing with his tried-and-tested approach of taking every session as it comes in 2021 and won’t be making too many predictions about the competitive order.

“Wait and see,” he said. “The Hitech boys have looked fast and did a good job last year and are largely second year drivers, so they should be strong.

“Also, the grid is filling up nicely – it will be good to race against a full grid of cars and it will certainly make the reverse grid races more interesting.

“I think the Brands Hatch GP circuit will favour the second year drivers as there’s no testing there. So, if we are on the pace, that will be a good sign.”

One other big change for 2021 will be the welcome return of fans to the spectator banks around the UK, following a 2020 F4 season conducted entirely behind closed doors.

“It will be really cool to have the fans back. It’s a great experience when places like Oulton Park are full,” added Zak.