18-year-old British driver Oliver Bearman set to make Formula 1 debut at Mexican Grand Prix
Is this the next Lewis Hamilton?
18-year-old Oliver Bearman will become the youngest British driver to take part in a Formula One session at this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.
It was announced at the start of October that Bearman will participate in a free practice session with Haas in Mexico and the season finale in Abu Dhabi in November.
Since 2022, every F1 team is required to run a rookie driver in two practice sessions across the season, with Ferrari academy star Bearman effectively being loaned to Haas as part of the American outfit’s continued partnership with the Scuderia.
Hailing from Chelmsford, he is one of the brightest and most exciting young racers out there and has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past few years.
He won both the ADAC Formula 4 and Italian Formula 4 titles in 2021 before finishing third – and just seven points off champion Victor Martins – in his debut Formula 3 campaign in 2022.
Now, he’ll be driving alongside motor racing’s biggest and best names – some of whom he idolised growing up – and in doing so will break a record that has been held by Lando Norris since 2018.
‘That’s a really exciting part of the test, being the youngest British driver on track in an F1 session,’ Bearman told Haas’ official website.
‘I’m for sure excited to fulfill my dream of driving a Formula 1 car because that’s what I grew up watching and it will be amazing to be on track with these guys. It’s also a bit scary as I will be on track with people I grew up watching, like Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso – I’ll try and stay out of their way!
‘I think once you get on track and start driving, it’s business and usual. I’m really excited but also once I’m driving, I don’t think I’ll be thinking about it too much.’
Ferrari clearly see much potential in the teenager, given him his first taste of an F1 car at their private test track in Italy two weeks ago.
In 2023, Bearman has been racing in Formula 2 and with just the final round in Abu Dhabi to go he is an impressive sixth in standings, having taken four wins, and will undoubtedly be one of the favourites for the championship next season.
‘This year has been going quite well I’d say. I’ve gained so much experience and I’ve grown so much as a driver throughout this season, and I’ve learned so much about myself as well,’ he added.
‘I have regrets and things where I kick myself for making some silly mistakes but what I’ll takeaway is how much I’ve learned and how ready I am for whatever next year throws at me.’
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