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‘The level of support is incredible’ – Ollie Bearman on Silverstone’s magic, his latest FP1 chance with Haas and his F1 prospects

F2 & F3 Writer

Jake Williams-Smith
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IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 18: Oliver Bearman of Great Britain and Ferrari walks in the F1 paddock prior to

The British Grand Prix will mark the third Formula 1 race weekend in 2024 that Ollie Bearman will be part of the Grand Prix action, driving in free practice for Haas once more – but this time around it will be particularly special.

The Scuderia Ferrari Driver Academy talent is no stranger to the high-speed sweeps of Silverstone, but on the eve of the 2024 Grand Prix weekend, Bearman is gearing up to tackle his home track in Formula 1 machinery for the very first time.

F2: Bearman holds off Martí to take victory in the Spielberg Sprint Race

“Throughout this triple header, the thing I’ve been most looking forward to is getting to Silverstone,” the current F2 talent explained, unable to hide a smile at the thought. “Turning up there and seeing all the fans straight away from Thursday when there’s already a lot of people there to support, it’s really nice. I’m really excited about that.”

As always, the partisan crowd that head to Silverstone in high numbers will offer unwavering support, and Bearman says he has felt the love already racing on an F1 weekend.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 21: Oliver Bearman of Great Britain driving the (50) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari

Bearman will get behind the wheel of the Haas F1 car for his third FP1 outing of 2024 at Silverstone

In 2022, he captured his maiden Formula 3 Feature Race podium at his home track, while last year he put on a show through the rain in a memorable scrap against Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan – also set to be in action for his Alpine squad in FP1.

The chance to turn the wheel of an F1 car in front of his home crowd though is something entirely different though, he says, noting that from the very start of the weekend, British drivers can feel the difference the fans make.

READ MORE: Doohan to take over Gasly's car for FP1 at Silverstone as Australian gets latest opportunity

“The circuit is a big plus – I think I would say it’s up there as one of my favourite tracks just because of its high-speed nature,” says Bearman.

“It’s really a track where you can use the downforce and grip of a formula car, you really enjoy it there. Of course, then there’s the fans and the fact that it’s my home race – I’m quite lucky to have such a great track as my home race.

“The fans, particularly in the fan zone, which I’ve done the past two years, have always been so supportive and that’s really nice.

“During the races, the grandstands are completely full. Sunday morning, even if you’re racing at 9am, everyone is there supporting you. That level of support is just incredible to see.”

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 17: Second placed qualifier Oliver Bearman of Great Britain and PREMA Racing (3)

Bearman is looking forward to returning to Silverstone

Along with the likes of Nigel Mansell – who famously claimed the Silverstone crowd gave him those extra few tenths of a second in performance – and Lewis Hamilton, who always seems to have that extra gear at home, Bearman says the home support is a difference-maker.

“I hope that it gives me that little bit extra in terms of performance,” he says. “Of course, I’m as motivated as ever regardless and I want to be performing strongly, but just knowing that in the background you’ve got all of these people rooting for you, it’s such a great feeling. It can get rid of any negativity you might have.”

READ MORE: 'It’s a historic moment' – Colapinto on his 'mega' FP1 chance at Silverstone with Williams and representing Argentina

Turning his focus back onto the packed weekend he has in store, the Ferrari junior driver already has experience in balancing life as an F2 competitor along with his Haas free practice outings. Around Imola and fresh from his FP1 duties, Bearman was unfortunate to miss out on F2 pole as he jumped back into his PREMA Racing machine.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: Oliver Bearman of Great Britain and PREMA Racing (3) drives on track

Driving for PREMA Racing, Bearman currently sits in 14th place of the drivers' standings in the 2024 Formula 2 season

This time, though, the Silverstone circuit will demand that much more of him, with the high-speed complexes of Copse, Maggots and Becketts and Stowe iconic corners he is very much looking forward to tackling in the Haas VF-24.

“My weekend is going to be very busy,” he laughs, “on top of the fact that it will be my home race, so it’s going to be a hectic one. I have a busy weekend on the F2 side of things with the race weekend as normal. Then on the F1 side, things are going to be really busy as well.

READ MORE: Bearman sets out goal ahead of FP1 appearance for Haas as he reflects on prospects of 2025 seat

“Free practice up first. I’m really looking forward to getting back in the F1 car, especially around a track like Silverstone – you can really use the grip of a Formula 1 car, so that will be really impressive.

“It’s going to be tough physically. But I’m also really excited, as I haven’t run Silverstone in an F1 car before, so it’s one of those tracks where you really dream about driving in Formula 1 because it really is one of the best tracks in terms of the feeling it gives you.

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 16: Oliver Bearman of Great Britain and Haas F1 prepares for a seat fitting in

Bearman last competed in FP1 for Haas during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend

“I’ve got an idea of what it will be like but of course, I’ll have to try and get up to speed as quickly as possible with the car. I’m very happy to be back in the car and really excited for such a great opportunity with Haas.”

The American outfit have been impressed with Bearman’s cameo appearances whenever he has deputised for either Nico Hulkenberg or Kevin Magnussen. As the F1 driver market continues to evolve, Bearman has been linked with the possibility of stepping into one of the Haas seats full time next year, and much of that is based on what he’s shown in his brief time with the team on Grand Prix weekends – as well as his assured stand-in performance for Carlos Sainz at Ferrari in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

READ MORE: F2 racer Colapinto to drive Sargeant's Williams during first practice at Silverstone

It isn’t lost on him either that come next year, he might be getting to go through Silverstone race week as a fully-fledged Formula 1 driver, a prospect he can’t deny would be that much more special.

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

It was a memorably impressive performance from Bearman when he stepped in as a substitute driver for Ferrari during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

“A home race in Formula 1 would be fantastic,” he says. “I’ve been working on it. I won’t get to do the full race weekend this time around, but I’ll have a sneak peek of what it will be like in the future. That’s of course a huge motivation for me and a huge goal of mine – to be able to race this track in a Formula 1 car.

“I think that would be a lot of fun and it would just be everything times 10. The fans, the support, everything that goes into making a home race weekend at Silverstone.

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“It’ll be exponentially bigger, so I’m really excited for that.”

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