What next for Bearman? British teenager eyes 2025 Haas seat

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What next for Bearman? British teenager eyes 2025 Haas seat

British teenager Oliver Bearman says he is hopeful “a door could open” for him to drive for Haas in Formula 1 next season following his impressive debut as a stand-in for Ferrari at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The 18-year-old, who had claimed pole in Formula 2 on Thursday in Jeddah, was called up to replace Carlos Sainz just hours before final practice on Friday after the Spaniard was diagnosed with appendicitis, for which he would later undergo successful surgery.

With just 60 minutes of practice under his belt, Bearman marginally missed out on Q3 as he took P11 on the grid, before producing a faultless drive in Saturday’s race at the hugely challenging high-speed circuit to hold off Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton for seventh.

Bearman’s mature showing has put him in contention for a permanent seat in 2025, where change to F1’s driver line-up seems almost certain with more than half the grid out of contract at the end of the current campaign.

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Oliver Bearman reflects on his Ferrari debut and gives an insight into the difference between F1 and F2

Asked about his prospects of earning a seat, Bearman said: “I don’t know what else I can do because I don’t think I’ll be in F1 for the rest of the year.

“So that was my goal, to do a great showing this weekend.

“I think I did a decent job, so that’s alright and that’s all I can do, keep pushing in F2 and cross my fingers, that’s it.”

The most likely landing spot for Bearman in 2025 would appear to be Haas, for whom he drove in two practice sessions last season, and is set to feature in more for this year.

Image: Bearman in Haas colours when he drove for the team at last November’s post-season test in Abu Dhabi

The American-owned team share a close relationship with Ferrari, who supply their engines, gearbox and other parts allowed under F1’s technical regulations.

“I have a lot of practices with Haas this year, so I’m looking forward to building up a relationship and gaining more miles in the car.

“And hopefully a door could open there (for 2025), that would be fantastic.”

Vasseur: Result in pocket for Bearman on path to Ferrari

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Anthony Davidson takes a look at the best moments from Oliver Bearman’s debut race for Ferrari where he finished in an impressive seventh place

Bearman’s ultimate goal as a Ferrari Driver Academy product will be to earn a seat with the Italian team, but there is no prospect of that happening any time soon with Hamilton having signed to join from Mercedes next season and Charles Leclerc contracted to a long-term deal.

However, at the age of 18, the Essex-born driver has plenty of time to achieve that goal, with an opening likely to come when the 39-year-old Hamilton’s storied career eventually draws to a close.

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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell congratulate debutant Oliver Bearman after an impressive seventh place in the Ferrari

Asked whether Bearman’s performance in Saudi Arabia had helped his long-term Ferrari prospects, team principal Frederic Vasseur offered a positive response.

“It’s a good signal for Ollie for sure that it’s an important milestone,” Vasseur said. “But again in Melbourne and the next one Imola, they will be back on the F2 project and the most important challenge for Ollie will be this one.

“He will start soon the FP1 sessions with Haas and this will be important also for us, to give him experience and also mileage into the car, but for sure he has this result in his pocket.”

Will Sainz be back for Australia?

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Vasseur also confirmed that Bearman will once more be Ferrari’s reserve when the F1 season continues in Australia in two weeks’ time.

Both Vasseur and Sainz, who remarkably came to the track the day after his surgery to support the team from the garage, are optimistic that he will be able to resume driving duties in Melbourne.

Bearman added: “I’ve seen Carlos seems to be recovering really well and I’m happy for him because in the end, it’s his car, his championship.

“So I think he’ll be fine and I hope he’s good as well.”

Formula 1’s biggest ever season continues with the Australian Grand Prix from March 22-24, live on Sky Sports F1. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – just £21 a month for 12 months. No contract, cancel anytime

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