‘Can’t fault him’ – Haas pinpoint ‘great’ Oliver Bearman trait as F1 2025 hopes receive huge boost

Oliver Harden
A headshot of Oliver Bearman

Oliver Bearman: the face of Haas's future?

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu has admitted he “can’t really fault” Oliver Bearman after a composed performance in Emilia Romagna Grand Prix practice at Imola on Friday.

Bearman made himself a serious contender for an F1 2025 seat by impressing in a one-race cameo for Ferrari at this season’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where he deputised for an unwell Carlos Sainz.

Oliver Bearman destined for F1 2025 Haas seat?

Despite only receiving the call shortly before the final practice session in Jeddah, Bearman excelled on his F1 debut and collected the Driver of the Day award for claiming seventh place.

Bearman – who previously participated in two F1 2023 practice sessions for Haas in Mexico and Abu Dhabi – was back behind the wheel of an F1 car for the first time since the Saudi Arabian GP in FP1 at Imola, where he drove in place of Kevin Magnussen.

Classified 15th in the opening practice session – ahead of both Williams and Sauber drivers as well as regular Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg – the teenager made another fine impression to leave Komatsu singing his praises.

In depth: Oliver Bearman’s rapid F1 rise

👉 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix conclusions: Bearman’s next move, Ricciardo’s decline and more

👉 Saudi Arabian GP driver ratings: Daniel Ricciardo hype train derails, Oliver Bearman shines

Asked to assess Bearman’s FP1 performance, Komatsu told Formula 1: “Very good, like he did in the previous two sessions last year.

“This morning’s session, again I can’t really fault him.

“The great thing about him is that he’s got speed, he’s got physical ability, but he really understands what he needs to deliver in the bigger picture, overall context.

“He understands the importance of a session in the context of a race weekend, importance of the run, lap, and he’s very quick to improve and learn from mistakes as well.

“Again, he had a decent, soft-tyre run and then a very decent high-fuel run as well, so another very good session for him.”

Bearman commented: “I’m really happy with my performance in FP1.

“The session was a bit shorter because of the red flag [for Alex Albon’s stoppage] but I’m quite happy with how I got up to speed with the car. Driving FP1 in F2 as well really helped me to make that step pretty quickly.

“I think all the work we’re doing behind the scenes is paying off because already from the early laps I was feeling really comfortable in the car and at home.

“The long run also went well and the car feels like a good step compared to last year.

“I’m proud of the guys, they’re having a great season so far and I can’t wait to jump in again.”

Hulkenberg announced last month that he will join Sauber/Audi for F1 2025, creating a vacancy alongside Magnussen at Haas.

Read next: Significant rear wing change for Ferrari catches the eye in Imola paddock