Ferrari’s hot British prospect looks to standout rookie for F1 breakthrough inspiration

Jamie Woodhouse
Ferrari's base in Maranello, Italy.

Ferrari's base in Maranello.

Ferrari junior Oliver Bearman looks to Oscar Piastri’s extensive mileage pre-F1 debut as the way he hopes to prepare ahead of a call-up.

Ferrari house one of the brightest racing talents about in their Driver Academy in the form of Bearman, the 18-year-old Brit having impressed during his maiden Formula 2 campaign in 2023, claiming four race wins and six podiums overall.

With that crucial experience under his belt, the next step will be to challenge for the F2 title in 2024, should he return to the category as expected for another season, as he looks to force his way into the conversation for an F1 seat come 2025.

Oliver Bearman looks to follow Oscar Piastri blueprint

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

F1 teams putting their trust in rookie drivers appears to be growing less frequent, though Piastri showed what is possible in a rookie year when talent and extensive preparation combine.

Having completed multiple private tests in an old Alpine F1 car, Piastri joined the grid with McLaren for the F1 2023 campaign and widely impressed, the highlight of his campaign being sprint race victory in Qatar.

Bearman had a pair of FP1 outings with Haas in F1 2023 and hopes more are coming next year, ideally with some private tests sprinkled in too, as he strives to be well-accustomed with F1 machinery by the time his targeted debut happens.

Asked by media, including PlanetF1.com, whether Piastri demonstrated the ideal rookie preparation for F1, Bearman replied: “Yeah, he showed that preparation is really important.

“Once you join F1 you’re going up against guys with a lot of races under their belt.

“Coming in as a rookie is a difficult job, so it’s something that we’ve thought about and it will be really important that before I start an F1 campaign, I need to be really prepared.

“Hopefully that looks like more FP1s and maybe some private testing as well. I don’t have any say on that. But in an ideal world that would be how I approach an F1 season.

“I know I’d be ready to go [for 2025], I know I have what it takes. Of course, preparation will be important. First of all, I have to do a good enough job to make that step one. But I have no doubt that if I get a call-up, I’m ready to go.”

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A crucial change for 2024 which is set to benefit Bearman and any driver testing old F1 machinery is that they will now be able to test a ground effect car.

F1 made the transition to ground effect aerodynamics as of the 2022 campaign, meaning over the past two seasons, drivers in a private test could only use an old-spec F1 challenger as the Testing of a Previous Car rules state that the car driven must be at least two years past its season of F1 action.

And Bearman agreed that this will be a big boost for rookie drivers like himself.

“Yeah, exactly,” he confirmed.

“I’ve tested the 2021 car, it’s still an F1 car, I think it’s even a little bit faster than the current generation, but the fact that from next year you can use the 2022 cars will be really helpful, because it’s the same generation of car and not much has changed since then.

“So, that’s good to know and hopefully we can make use of that as well.”

Bearman concluded 2023 by representing Ferrari customer Haas in the Abu Dhabi young drivers’ test.

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