Hulkenberg and Magnussen on alert with Oliver Bearman ‘absolutely’ on Haas radar

Michelle Foster
Oliver Bearman smiling with a prominent Ferrari badge alongside him

Oliver Bearman made his F1 debut with Ferrari in Jeddah after Carlos Sainz was ruled out

“Total package” Oliver Bearman is “absolutely” on Haas’ radar for next season but team boss Ayao Komatsu won’t be drawn on the subject any more than that.

A “star is born” claimed the headlines, and 1996 World Champion Damon Hill, after Bearman’s incredible Ferrari debut at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Ayao Komatsu: Oliver Bearman is the ‘total package’

Called up on Friday morning by Ferrari to replace Carlos Sainz, who had to undergo surgery for appendicitis, 18-year-old Bearman had just one practice hour in the SF-24 before qualifying.

And yet he only missed out on a Q3 berth by 0.034s, edged out by Lewis Hamilton.

Lining up 11th on the grid, the Formula 2 driver raced his way to seventh place as he kept his nerve despite Lando Norris and Hamilton chasing him in the final stint.

The consensus amongst pundits and fans is that Bearman deserves a Formula 1 race seat for next year’s championship with Haas his most likely destination. The team potentially has two open seats for 2025 with Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen’s contracts expiring this year.

The Ferrari-powered team already has Bearman as their reserve driver and later this year will put him in the VF-24 for six practice sessions.

Asked if Bearman was ‘even more on your’s and Gene Haas’ radar for next year’, Haas team boss Komatsu told Sky Sports: “Yeah, absolutely. To be honest, I haven’t actually studied Ollie’s race.”

Told by Karun Chandhok that it was “very good”, Komatsu replied: “I’m sure given where he finished. But look, last year in FP1 sessions in Mexico and Abu Dhabi straight away it was obvious that he’s a total package, he is so impressive.

“So I was very happy that we got him for six FP1s this year. And yeah very happy for him.”

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Could Oliver Bearman’s debut open the F1 door for other rookies?

This year’s championship marked, at least until Bearman stepped onto the grid, the first F1 season without a single change between the drivers who finished the last season and who started in the following campaign.

However, already it’s been widely suggested there won’t be a repeat in 2025 with Bearman and perhaps his Prema team-mate Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who has been linked to Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes seat, both making the step up.

Speaking about Bearman’s performance at the Jeddah circuit, former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher called it an “incredible performance”, adding to Sky Germany: “He did everything right, he can be proud of himself.

“Pretty much everyone in Formula 1 will have been looking at him. He will be driving in Formula 1 next year and this is not the last time he will be in the points.”

The German hopes Bearman’s performance proves to F1 team bosses that they can count on rookie drivers to perform.

“It was very important that someone like him was thrown in the deep end like that,” he said. “Every team was almost afraid to take on new drivers. Hopefully, it will lead to new drivers coming in again.”

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