Could teen sensation oust Sainz? Ferrari’s next big move

Wild wpeculation is rampant within the Formula 1 community that Carlos Sainz may face challenges in reclaiming his seat at Ferrari for the remainder of the year. This theory gained traction following Sainz’s emergency appendectomy in Saudi Arabia, and the subsequent standout performance by 18-year-old Oliver Bearman, who stepped in as his replacement.

During an interview with Ziggo Sport, ex-Haas team principal Gunther Steiner – in Adelaide at the weekend for the motorsport festival – praised Bearman’s debut, stating, “He did very well,” and described him as “a very good driver – very stable and calm. He didn’t want to go too fast. He took his chance, but did not aim for a podium place.” Steiner emphasized the strategic restraint Bearman showed, adding, “If he had given 10 percent more and crashed, he would be known as the boy who did something stupid and didn’t take his chance. Now people have something to think about.”

Bearman’s poised performance has now linked him with a potential full-time seat for the 2025 season with the team formerly led by Steiner. Dutch reporter Jack Plooij, however, suggests that Bearman may don the Ferrari red again sooner than anticipated, possibly at this weekend’s race in Melbourne. Plooij shared his viewpoint, “Sainz won’t make it,” alluding to doubts about Sainz’s readiness post-surgery, despite the driver’s slow yet determined return to the paddock in Jeddah merely a day post-operation.

Former F1 competitor Robert Doornbos reflected on Sainz’s pained paddock appearance as a tactical move, stating, “I thought that was very strange. I think it was political – to say ‘don’t write me off yet, I’m still here’.”

Given Sainz’s impending replacement by Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari next year and the potential for Sainz to bring valuable development insights to a competing team in 2025, there’s growing speculation about an early transition to Bearman. “Everyone is saying that he will no longer have access to this or that, so why not? And if Bearman wins in Australia, what then?” Plooij questioned, hinting at the potential implications of a successful outing for Bearman in Melbourne.

Luis Perez-Sala, a former F1 driver and advisor to the defunct HRT team, weighed in on the situation, noting the probable impact on Sainz’s morale following Ferrari’s decision to sign Hamilton. Speaking to AS newspaper, he remarked, “For sure, It is very difficult for me to understand a decision like that before starting a season. It’s not a good thing for your current driver or your team.” He acknowledged the professionalism within the sport but pointed out the less-than-ideal circumstances for Sainz, concluding that Sainz remains an exceptional asset to any team aiming for the world championship, stating, “He would be good for Mercedes, and quite possibly for Red Bull as well.”

-GMM

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