Gloucestershire's Zak O’Sullivan will compete in Formula 3 this year.

The 17-year-old will race for Carlin, the team with whom he stormed to the GB3 Championship last year.

Zak, from Withington, has also been selected as a member of the Williams Racing Driver Academy.

In his role as an Academy Driver, Zak will be fully integrated into the team, both trackside and at the factory at Grove, Oxfordshire, where he will conduct simulator work and provide feedback for car development.

Speaking about the announcement, Zak said: “I’m honoured to have been selected. This is an incredible opportunity and I can't thank the team enough for their faith in me.

"Williams Racing is one of the most successful and respected teams in Formula One and have nurtured some of the greatest talents in the sport.

"I’m also pleased to be continuing my relationship with Carlin and stepping up to F3 with them.

"This will be my third year working with the team and I am looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

Sven Smeets, Williams Racing sporting director, added: “We are all very pleased to welcome Zak to the Williams Racing Driver Academy. His incredibly successful GB3 Championship campaign speaks to his natural talent, and the team can attest to his capability, drive and professionalism having seen him drive the simulator in Grove.

"I’m looking forward to seeing him take on Formula 3 next year; I know he’ll prove a formidable competitor.

"We’re now looking forward to working alongside Zak to support his development.”

Competing in F3, Zak will take on the challenges of a new car, a whole host of new tracks and the excitement of being on the Formula One support package.

He will next be behind the wheel in March, when pre-season testing gets underway in Bahrain, before the nine-round, 18-race season begins two weeks later at the same circuit.

Speaking about the announcement and Zak’s return to Carlin, team principal Trevor Carlin said: “It’s clear that Williams have recognised the same talent and potential in Zak that we have and we’re delighted he has chosen to stay with us for the move to Formula 3.

"We’ve enjoyed two very successful seasons together so we know exactly how much effort and dedication Zak puts into everything he does. ”