The 2023 CIK-FIA European Karting Champion, 14-year-old Ukrainian driver Oleksandr Bondarev, has joined the Williams Racing Driver Academy. This is reported by the official Williams website.
“I am so excited to join the Williams Racing Driver Academy,” the young racer shared on his first day at Grove.
“Williams Racing is one of the most iconic teams in motorsport, having had some of the best drivers in the sport race for them and it is an honour to have the chance to be part of that history.
“Since I was five years old, when I began karting, I dreamt about Formula 1. I have a long way to go, of course, but this is a huge step for me.
“I always knew that becoming part of an F1 young driver programme was crucial and I will work hard to repay the confidence and belief which James [Vowles] and Sven [Smeets] have placed in me.”
Oleksandr Bondarev was born in Kyiv in 2009. He has been professionally engaged in karting since the age of 5. His passion for racing began with the cartoon “Cars” about Lightning McQueen. At the age of 7, he became the youngest Ukrainian karting champion, and at the age of 8, he won the CEE Rotax Max Challenge Cup of Central and Eastern Europe. In 2023, Oleksandr, as a member of the Kart Republic team, won the title of European Karting Champion in the OK Junior category. After that, he joined the well-known Italian racing team Prema Racing, whose pilots compete in FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, FIA World Endurance Championship and other series.
Participation in the Williams Racing Academy is an important step for any pilot, as many Formula 1 drivers started in similar programs of different teams. And although Williams Racing is not as powerful now as it was in the 80s and 90s of the last century, it is a team with a glorious history that seems to be starting to recover from the horror of 2018-2019. Currently, Williams Racing is ranked 7th in the 2023 Constructors’ Cup, and the team’s driver Alexander Albon has been showing really good potential in the last few races.
Welcoming Oleksandr Bondarev to the Williams Racing Driver Academy, Williams Racing sporting director Sven Smits said:
“We’re delighted to announce that Oleksandr has joined the Williams Racing Driver Academy, Sven Smeets, Sporting Director at Williams Racing, commented.
“He’s a highly regarded young talent that we’ve monitored for some time. At just 14 years old, he already has several impressive achievements to his name, including the 2023 FIA-CIK European OKJ Championship.
“Oleksandr has shown a lot of potential at an early age and we look forward to supporting his development as he continues his journey in karting.”
Well, we’ll be rooting for the young Ukrainian driver and hope that Oleksandr will find his way to Formula 1.