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ANALYSIS: Why Haas opted to sign Ollie Bearman – and who will partner the British youngster for 2025?

F1 Correspondent & Presenter

Lawrence Barretto
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Ever since Ollie Bearman delivered a sensational F1 debut appearance as a substitute for Carlos Sainz at Ferrari in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, it has become increasingly likely he would find himself back in F1 next year – but this time with a full-time seat. And on Thursday, ahead of the British Grand Prix, Haas revealed they had snapped him up on a multi-year deal.

If anyone is ever after an example of how to make the most of a shock opportunity, they should look no further than Bearman’s impressive super-sub performance in Saudi Arabia earlier this year.

READ MORE: F2 star Ollie Bearman promoted to F1 with Haas for 2025

With just a few hours’ notice, Bearman found himself in Ferrari overalls, ready for a one-hour practice session that would be his only running before his first-ever Formula 1 qualifying session.

That he qualified 11th – and felt he could have been higher had he tightened a few things up – and then scored points with seventh in a race where he became F1’s third youngest racer in history certainly got the attention of folk up and down the pit lane.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Oliver Bearman of Great Britain driving the (38) Ferrari SF-24 on

Bearman impressed when he substituted for an unwell Sainz at Ferrari during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

After such a stellar performance, it felt like it was a question of when, not if, Bearman would make his full-time debut in F1. But this didn’t trigger the start of talks about sorting him a seat on the grid. Those talks had been going on for some time.

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur had already been speaking with Haas about such a possibility. Vasseur is understood to have discussed the potential of such a move with former Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner, to the point where they had mutually agreed to run Bearman in two FP1 sessions and the end-of-season Abu Dhabi young driver test last year.

Owner Gene Haas was across it all, with newly-instated Ayao Komatsu picking up the discussions following Steiner’s departure – and those chats accelerated after Saudi Arabia. It became clear very quickly, sources say, that Ferrari wanted Bearman at Haas – and Haas wanted Bearman for 2025.

EXCLUSIVE: ‘The perfect match’ – Bearman and new team boss Komatsu on the 19-year-old’s multi-year Haas deal

Bearman hasn’t put a foot wrong when he gets the chance

Talk to anyone at Haas and they’ll only have good things to say about Bearman, who has emitted his youthful, positive vibes within the team every time he’s driven the car.

That relationship grew closer as part of his role as reserve driver for the American team – and he began spending more time with them, as part of a run of six FP1 appearances this season (the third of which is this weekend at Silverstone).

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 06: Oliver Bearman of Great Britain and Ferrari and Haas F1 Team Principal

Bearman has built a good relationship with Haas, having earned praise from team boss Komatsu

Haas have been very impressed by how Bearman applies himself. Speak to engineers who have worked with him and they will tell you how impressed they are with his intelligence. He’s considered to have a razor-sharp mind, one that is adept at making the right decisions at the right time under pressure in the cockpit.

He absorbs information first time around and is ruthlessly efficient at completing a testing programme effectively.

Many racing drivers are fast, but Haas could see that he knows – even at this young age – how to harness that speed and utilise it to get the most out of a tyre, a lap or a stint.

READ MORE: From backmarker brilliance to stand-in stars – 10 times F1 drivers put themselves in the shop window with stunning performances

His mental fortitude, especially for a 19-year-old, is highly-rated. The way he’s dealt with the tricky start to his F2 season with PREMA, or the late call to step up to F1 with Ferrari for Saudi Arabia, has impressed many. He seems to be unflappable.

It’s no surprise, then, that having seen Bearman in action in Saudi, seen the way he handles himself with Haas through practice appearances and testing, and downloaded the Ferrari Driver Academy senior staff for information about him, Haas were keen to run him for 2025.

Ollie Bearman signs for Haas on a multi-year deal

Haas bond with Ferrari remains strong

Haas see a lot of potential in Bearman, and with the team showing an upturn in form this year (they are seventh in the constructors’ championship and eyeing the fight for P6 with RB) bringing in a young talent in one seat made a lot of sense.

This isn’t the first time Haas have run Ferrari young drivers. They ran Mick Schumacher in 2021 and 2022 – and have given Charles Leclerc, Antonio Giovinazzi and Callum Ilott runs in FP1.

TREMAYNE: Bearman’s F1 debut was one of the most accomplished and impressive I’ve witnessed in 36 years of F1 reporting

With Haas having a stronger than ever relationship with Ferrari – with whom they’ve been a partner since they entered the sport in 2016 – continuing the trend of running the Scuderia’s talent made sense.

And so, an agreement for Bearman to join Haas for 2025 was done quickly and made several months ago. All that was left to do was sort the paperwork and decide on a time to announce. And what better time to do that then on the weekend of the 19-year-old’s home race, eh?

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Oliver Bearman of Great Britain and Ferrari looks on in the

Who will join Bearman at Haas in 2025?

The search for Bearman’s team mate intensifies

With Bearman announced, attention will now turn to the second seat at Haas.

Nico Hulkenberg is off to pastures new after he signed a long-term deal with Sauber/Audi. That leaves Kevin Magnussen fighting to stay with Haas for a seventh season (across two stints).

READ MORE: From backmarker brilliance to stand-in stars – 10 times F1 drivers put themselves in the shop window with stunning performances

Sources say that there are two drivers ahead of him on the shortlist.

One of them is Valtteri Bottas. The 10-time race winner has oodles of experience with Williams, Mercedes and Sauber, and has the hunger for a long-term project. Dovetailing his experience with Bearman’s youth makes sense, especially as Bottas has recently mentored Zhou Guanyu.

The other is one-time race winner Esteban Ocon. He’s on the look-out for a seat after parting ways with Alpine.

The Frenchman has performed strongly relative to team mate Pierre Gasly and is believed to be highly-rated by Haas. As a result, he is favourite to get the seat despite interest from Williams and Sauber.

Talks will continue in the coming days and weeks. Watch this space.

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