Bearman to Haas? Ferrari bosses tease F1 future for rookie

Frederic Vasseur has hinted at the possibility of Oliver Bearman, the 18-year-old rookie who made a remarkable one-off appearance, securing a full-time F1 seat with Haas next season.

Following Carlos Sainz’s unexpected diagnosis with appendicitis just before the pre-qualifying practice session in Jeddah, Ferrari swiftly transitioned Bearman from the Formula 2 arena into the spotlight of F1, where he donned the iconic red suit.

Bearman’s debut was nothing short of impressive, finishing P7 at the end of the race weekend, a feat that caught the attention of the entire F1 paddock.

Ho-Pin Tung, the Dutch racing driver, praised Bearman’s performance, noting, “What I like is that he represented the rookies. There were no new drivers this year, but now we see that you can put a rookie in Formula 1 and they do well.”

Racing veteran Tim Coronel advocated for making room for new talent like Bearman in F1, expressing frustration with the return of drivers like Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg, suggesting that it’s time for fresh faces to have their chance. “This boy belongs in F1,” he firmly stated.

“It’s time for some people to leave the field now,” he demanded. “How many drivers have left and come back? (Kevin) Magnussen, (Nico) Hulkenberg. Just stay away and give those new guys a chance.”

Tung also mentioned that Haas is already considering Bearman, who is scheduled to participate in six initial practice sessions for the Ferrari-affiliated team throughout 2024. However, Vasseur is cautious about managing the excitement surrounding Bearman, emphasizing the need for patience and focus on his Formula 2 commitments. “He has had one race, so the best way to help him is not to draw a conclusion. We have to take it easy. In a couple of weeks, this result will be forgotten,” Vasseur remarked.

Despite the cautious approach, a seat at Haas-Ferrari for 2025 remains a “possibility” for Bearman, a sentiment echoed by Ferrari chairman John Elkann who highlighted Ferrari’s recent emphasis on nurturing young talent. “One of the great efforts that has been made at Ferrari in recent years has been to focus on young people,” Elkann said in Saudi Arabia when asked about Bearman.

However, not everyone was entirely convinced by Bearman’s performance. Dutch pundit Olav Mol questioned the praise Bearman received for being half a second slower than Charles Leclerc, contrasting it with the criticism Sergio Perez faces when lagging behind Max Verstappen.

“When Perez is half a second slower than Max, he’s a pancake, but when Beraman is half a second slower than Leclerc, he’s absolutely fantastic?” he said on Ziggo Sport. “I don’t think so.”

GMM

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