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Oliver Bearman's impressive stand-in debut sparks speculation for full-time F1 role

Posted : 11 March 2024

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu has praised the standout performance of 18-year-old Oliver Bearman during his impressive stand-in debut with Ferrari, fueling speculations about a potential full-time Formula One role next season.


With Bearman being a reserve driver shared by Ferrari and Haas, his remarkable substitute appearance in Jeddah has sparked discussions about a potential move to the Haas team, which shares a cooperation agreement with Ferrari. Bearman, the youngest-ever British F1 driver, stepped into the Ferrari for practice and qualifying in the absence of Carlos Sainz, securing an 11th place in qualifying and finishing seventh in the race.


Komatsu expressed his satisfaction with Bearman's performance, highlighting his earlier experiences during FP1 sessions in Mexico and Abu Dhabi, where it became evident that the young driver is a "total package."


While Haas celebrated their first point of the season with Nico Hulkenberg's 10th-place finish, Komatsu acknowledged Bearman's achievements as well. Hulkenberg and teammate Kevin Magnussen are currently out of contract at the end of the season, and Bearman's standout performance has led to speculation about his potential role with Haas in the future.


Bearman, expressing his desire to build a relationship with Haas, mentioned his hope that his performance served as a positive "job interview." However, with a Formula Two campaign to consider and being without points due to missing the Jeddah round, the young Briton faces competition from current F2 leader Zane Maloney.


Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur emphasized the importance of focusing on F2 for the remainder of the season. While a second F1 outing in Melbourne is not ruled out, it depends on Sainz's recovery, with a decision likely to be made closer to the Australian Grand Prix. Sainz, despite his determined effort to attend the Jeddah race after appendicitis surgery, may face uncertainties about his readiness for the next race in Melbourne.


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