“Just because there is a seat, doesn’t mean I’m entitled to it” — Bearman on the possibility of getting an F1 drive with Haas in 2025

Photo Credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
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As the 2024 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix approaches this weekend, Oliver Bearman is preparing to jump into the seat of a Haas, for yet another chance to drive in a F1 free practice sessions.

The 19-year-old completed his first F1 free practice session last year in Mexico and drove again for the American owned squad in Abu Dhabi, and has since made his F1 qualifying and race debut with Ferrari in Jeddah this year. 

Despite only a few stints in an F1 car, the British driver feels comfortable and confident for this weekend’s free practice session and feels as though he is sharp in an F1 car. Bearman will take part in a total of 6 Formula 1 free practice sessions this year, while also completing his duties for his own Formula 2 campaign with PREMA. 

Bearman sees these sessions as a perfect opportunity to prove himself to possible F1 teams, in the hopes of a seat for next season. Although there is seat open, he knows he is not entitled to it and will still need to earn the drive.

He also spoke about the pressure he puts on himself to perform well even though no goals have been set for him. The pressure lies in the idea that he hasn’t completed as many laps in an F1 car as others and he would like to constantly learn and improve on the previous runs he has put in. 

“Just because there is a seat doesn’t mean I’m entitled to it, I still have to go out there and earn it, through good performances in F2, but even more so the 6 FP’s that I’m doing, I have to perform well and show that I’m ready to go into F1 also.

“I haven’t been set any goals, no. I think the pressure is mainly coming from myself, because I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself. I just want to keep learning, keep improving.

“I still haven’t done many laps in F1 compared to the other guys. I just want to keep improving and maximise my potential.”

Bearman feels his weekend in Saudi Arabia with Ferrari helped prove himself to everyone else and show he is capable of becoming a future F1 driver. He qualified P11 and finished a superb 7th in early March.

“And then during the weekend in Saudi, in really difficult circumstances, I think I proved, I didn’t prove it to myself because I didn’t need to, but I proved it to everyone else that I’ve got what it takes to be an F1 driver in the future.”

The 19-year-old reviews his race in Saudi frequently and uses it to improve himself for these sessions. He uses the footage to pick up on areas he could improve on.

This alongside his simulator work and testing for the Scuderia is all helping to build his confidence in a F1 car. He reflects on Ayao Komatsu – team principal at Haas – statement in regards to him, that he values Bearman’s progress through the programme more than he values him proving his speed.

The British driver knows he has proved he has what it takes and now he “just drives”. 

“I was not the best, so yeah, I’m always trying to improve myself and when I’m bored, I watch my F1 racing.

“I mean on one hand I think I proved in the past that I’ve got what it takes, so yeah I just drive. And normally I feel quite comfortable and stuff and I can build up and push the car.”