Haas eager for Oliver Bearman to complete FP1 sessions in 2024

Jaden Diaz
12 Mar, 2024

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu is eager to see Oliver Bearman behind the VF-24 later in the 2024 F1 season. The 18-year-old has increased his already impressive value in the driver market, putting himself in a very strong position.

Irrespective of the expectations surrounding Bearman heading into last weekend, there was huge pressure on his inexperienced shoulders.

The British driver became the youngest Ferrari F1 driver in history, although he showed the maturity of a seasoned campaigner.

Bearman barely missed out on qualifying in the top 10. Despite this, his efforts were still very notable – especially considering how competitive the field is this year.

On race day, he showed both speed and composure. These traits are rare in isolation, let alone in combination with a driver making their debut in Formula 1.

Even before last weekend, the Ferrari academy driver was highly rated across the paddock.

JEDDAH STREET CIRCUIT, SAUDI ARABIA – MARCH 09: Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-24 battles with Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24 during the Saudi Arabian GP at Jeddah Street Circuit on Saturday March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Zak Mauger / LAT Images)

Among these admirers was Ayao Komatsu, now the Haas team principal, who worked with the Briton on numerous occasions last season.

Bearman’s speed in last year’s Free Practice sessions impressed Haas enough for them to offer him more opportunities in 2024.

Speaking after the Saudi Arabia GP, Komatsu made no secret of how competitive the youngster is:

“Yeah, absolutely. Last year, we had him in FP1 sessions in Mexico and Abu Dhabi. Straight away, it was obvious that he’s the total package.

“He’s so impressive, so I was very happy that we got him for six FP1s this year.

“[I am] very happy for him.”

Haas F1 Team filming day, Silverstone, Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

The Haas team principal only confirms what is already well-established in the F1 paddock. Moving forward, the question is what lies ahead for Oliver Bearman.

In many ways, his performance for Ferrari alleviates some of the pressure for the 18-year-old in Formula 2.

Of course, Bearman cannot (and will not) take anything for granted. He still needs to make the strongest possible case that he deserves a contract in 2024.

With that said, the British driver is in an almost ideal position for future contract negotiations.

Haas F1 Team were already changing their tune about rookie drivers over winter. Guenther Steiner (who was still in charge at the time) admitted the team could be open to signing a debutant.

As it stands, the US outfit has a very solid driver line-up. They worked extremely well just last weekend to earn Haas’ first point of 2024.

This result is extremely significant – given that there will be slim pickings for Formula 1’s midfield team this season.

Still, Nico Hulkenberg has been linked to a Sauber move for some time now. Should this move materialise (which seems more likely as Audi takeover 100% of the team), it presents a perfect window of opportunity for Oliver Bearman.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

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