Who is Oliver Bearman? Everything you need to know about Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz replacement

Oliver Harden
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

Oliver Bearman will make his F1 debut in this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after Ferrari confirmed that he will replace Carlos Sainz, who has been diagnosed with appendicitis.

But who exactly is Bearman? Here’s everything you need to know about the British racer…

Who is Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari replacement Oliver Bearman?

Bearman was born in Chelmsford, Essex, on May 8 2005 – the day of the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona, a race won by Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Fernando Alonso, whom the 18-year-old will compete against in Jeddah this weekend.

After emerging as a standout kart racer, winning multiple championships, Bearman took his first steps in cars in 2020 by competing in the ADAC Formula 4 Championship and Italian F4 Championship, winning a race in each category.

A first sign of his true potential came the following year, when Bearman stormed to both championships with the Van Amersfoort team, catching the eye of Ferrari.

In November 2021, Bearman joined the Ferrari Driver Academy – which has produced such names as the late Jules Bianchi and current Ferrari F1 star Charles Leclerc over the years – before progressing to FIA Formula 3 with the renowned Prema outfit in 2022.

In his debut season at F3 level, Bearman claimed eight podium finishes across the season – including a victory in the sprint race at Spa – to finish third in the standings, just seven points adrift of champion Victor Martins.

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Those performances convinced Prema to fast-track Bearman to F2, with the teenager claiming four victories over the course of the 2023 season – including a sprint and feature race double in Baku, a rare feat given the use of reverse grids in F1’s feeder series – to mark himself as a potential star of the future.

Last year also saw Bearman get his first taste of F1 machinery as he represented Ferrari customer team Haas in two practice sessions in Mexico.

He was classified 15th in FP1 in Mexico, just three tenths away from regular driver Nico Hulkenberg, and 20th in Abu Dhabi.

Bearman also represented Haas in the post-season test in Abu Dhabi, before being confirmed as Ferrari’s official reserve driver for the 2024 season in January – a role he shares with Russian star Robert Shwartzman and Antonio Giovinazzi, the former Alfa Romeo F1 racer. He also holds the reserve driver position at Haas.

For 2024, Bearman is combining his F1 reserve driver duties with his F2 activities with Prema, where his new team-mate is 17-year-old Mercedes starlet Andrea Kimi Antonelli, widely regarded as the eight-time Constructors Champions’ preferred choice to replace Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton next season.

Prema endured a challenging start to the new F2 season in Bahrain last weekend, with Bearman finishing 16th and 15th in the sprint and feature races respectively.

However, Bearman offered another reminder of his talent on Thursday by securing pole position for the F2 sprint race in Saudi Arabia – less than 24 hours before the call came to replace Sainz.

He will become the third-youngest driver to race in F1, as well as the first to make an F1 debut with Ferrari since Arturo Merzario in 1972.

Bearman is also the first British driver since Eddie Irvine in 1999 to race for Ferrari in Formula 1, and the youngest ever to wear Scuderia colours.

Read next: Why replacing Carlos Sainz could cost Ollie Bearman a chance at F2 title glory