Williams have added teenage karting star Oleksandr Bondarev to their junior ranks, with the 14-year-old joining their Driver Academy.
The young Ukrainian took the FIA-CIK European OKJ Championship title this year in karting, the first driver from his country to win that particular crown, and has made the step to sign with Williams as their newest young driver.
He joins multiple W Series champion Jamie Chadwick and current F3 stars Luke Browning, Franco Colapinto, Oliver Gray and Zak O’Sullivan in the Academy as he gets set for his next steps in motorsport.
Williams sign exciting teenage talent to young driver ranks
Williams have had Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi, Jack Aitken and Logan Sargeant all compete in Formula 1 after rising through their youth ranks since it was created, with Bondarev the newest name to join their Academy.
He became Ukraine’s youngest ever national karting champion aged just 7, and is also a previous winner of the Rotax Max Challenge Ukraine.
“I am so excited to join the Williams Racing Driver Academy,” Bondarev said upon the announcement.
“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 and Sven have placed in me.”
Williams sporting director Sven Smeets added: “We’re delighted to announce that Oleksandr has joined the Williams Racing Driver Academy.
“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.”