Ferrari junior Bearman gets first taste of F1 machinery ahead of FP1 outings with Haas
Ferrari Academy Driver Oliver Bearman completed his first laps in a Formula 1 car at Fiorano in Italy earlier this week as he gears up for his FP1 outings with Haas in Mexico and Abu Dhabi.
Bearman is currently in his rookie season in Formula 2, in which he has won four races and currently sits sixth in the drivers’ standings, and earlier this week the Briton was given a run out in Ferrari’s 2021-spec SF21.
The 18-year-old is set to get another go behind the wheel of F1 machinery when he makes his race weekend debut for Haas at the first practice session in Mexico later this month – before also driving for Haas at the final FP1 session of the season in Abu Dhabi.
Speaking after completing more than 400 kilometres out on track in the SF21 under the watchful eye of Ferrari Team Principal Fred Vasseur, Bearman said: “Today I was here for my first F1 test, I have to complete  kilometres to be able to participate in the FP1s in Mexico and Abu Dhabi.
“My mum and dad came. My mum said she cried when I left the pits, which was quite funny. It’s nice to have them here, they’ve been with me through my whole journey so far, and this is a big milestone – the first F1 test – so it’s really nice.
“I think, first of all, leaving the garage in a red car around a track like this was quite an emotional moment. It’s a childhood dream fulfilled to drive an F1 car. I was really, really happy.
“I just wanted to get round and finish it, especially the first run. I tried to take the approach of building up step by step, and I think we achieved that quite well. It is quite a difficult beast to tame I would say, so just I wanted to build up step by step.
“But then you get along the first corner and then you are straight to work trying to understand what this car needs. I was really shocked at the speed of course, the acceleration is really amazing, but also the downforce level, it gives me a lot of confidence and grip in the car.
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“Mexico it will just be F1, and that’s nice I get to focus on just F1, but Abu Dhabi is going to be pretty tight. Both me and my team mate [Frederik Vesti] are both doing FP1 and F2, so it’s going to be quite difficult to manage for me, and for the team.
“They are going to have no drivers between free practice and qualifying. But of course, my main focus will be F2, I still have a championship to do well in there, and FP1 will just be a nice bonus.”