Young Brits streets ahead in Monaco

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Further confirming the amazing depth of talent in British motorsport, two of this country’s brightest young prospects won the pair of FIA F2 races on last weekend’s prestigious Monaco Grand Prix bill.  

Taylor Barnard won Saturday’s opening sprint race from a reverse grid pole position while an inspired strategy took Zak O’Sullivan to a shock victory in Sunday’s longer Feature Race… from a lowly 15th on the starting grid! 

Both were maiden F2 wins for the pair of 19-year-old rising stars who had graduated to F2 at the start of this season after impressive F3 campaigns in 2023. Before that both had earned their spurs firstly in formative UK cadet karting and then in F4 single-seaters. 

Barnard’s breakthrough victory came in a predictably chaotic sprint race – the Motorsport UK Academy member keeping his cool on the Armco-lined harbourside streets while the more heated antics of others resulted in two safety car interruptions plus a late race red flag followed by a rolling restart with just five laps to run.  

“All the interruptions didn’t make easy to say the least,” admitted a delighted Barnard. “I knew if I could get in front from P1, I had good speed and could manage the pace and the car throughout. I’m really happy to get my first win in Monaco.” 

O’Sullivan’s debut F2 success was far more dramatic. The Williams junior rolled the dice and opted to delay his mandatory pit-stop until the end of the penultimate lap and his gamble paid off in spades. A late virtual safety car gifted O’Sullivan a free stop and he rejoined the action ahead of the pack to steal the spoils in the most extraordinary of circumstances.  

“It was a bit of a crazy race – luck was certainly on my side,” confessed the surprised teenager. “It’s been a tricky start to the year but it’s finally good to get a big result and a big boost for the rest of the season.” 

O’Sullivan’s good fortune robbed another young British prospect, Oliver Bearman, of his first podium of the year. The young Ferrari protégé, who starred when subbing for Carlos Sainz in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix back in March, had to settle for fourth place. 

Bearman now will be hoping to become the ninth different winner in this season’s fiercely-contested F2 Championship when battle resumes in Spain towards the end of June.