Formula 1 | Maturity, tire management and sympathy: why Komatsu chooses Bearman

On paper, the decision may appear paradoxical: Haas F1 has decided to start Oliver Bearman next year, who is only in 14th place in the F2 championship.

But Bearman had especially surprised and astonished his world, by replacing Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari in Saudi Arabia from FP3. On a very difficult track, he had signed the 7th place. In addition, it must be remembered that Prema, his team in F2, is in great pain this year.

Without Saudi Arabia, however, would Oliver Bearman have started next year?

Ayao Komatsu, for FOM, did not deny it: the performance in Jeddah was important… but how important?

“Of course, it was a good factor, but it was not the dominant factor.”

“I already saw in Mexico and Abu Dhabi (in free practice and private tests) last year what he is capable of – and how extraordinary it was to work with him. That impressed me even more.”

“We have direct experience with him. Seeing how he was able to jump into a Ferrari in FP3 on a circuit as difficult as Jeddah and behave the way he did… it wasn’t a total surprise, knowing how he worked with us. That gives us even more confidence in him.”

Haas F1 has therefore signed a young 19-year-old driver with a multi-year contract. Let’s be clear: with Oliver Bearman, Ayao Komatsu, Günther Steiner’s successor, is preparing for the future.

“We are almost starting the team from scratch. We are improving and we aspire to be more competitive. We need someone dynamic, young, talented but with a good head on their shoulders. For me, Ollie’s profile fits perfectly with the situation of the team and its objectives.”

“I’ve been impressed with the way he reacts to adversity. If you have a reliability issue and you lose a stint during the session, how will he react? If he wasn’t comfortable with the car, with his set-up, how did he react? It’s more about how he handles those situations – and so far he’s doing it very well.”

“I remember working with him for the first time in Mexico last year, in FP1. He said himself that he had a lot of pressure, but the way he handled himself was impressive.”

“A lot of drivers in this situation are focused on their own performance or trying to get the fastest lap time. But Ollie understood what the team were looking for in terms of the programme and the answers they needed to provide, and the role he could play in practice, in one of our cars, in the wider context of the race weekend.”

“When he drove in FP1, he did it accordingly so that we could generate good data. It’s impressive to do that at such a young age and for the first time in free practice.”

Oliver Bearman’s maturity therefore impressed the Japanese. But also an essential point in modern F1: his management of the Pirelli.

“Another thing that impressed me was that he was very aware of the tyre management in the high fuel stints. He was proactive in the sense that he managed too much at the start, but he realised it himself. Of course, we gave him information, but he could react to it. His awareness was impressive.”

“We saw it in qualifying simulation – he didn’t get the most out of the first stint. But then we gave him information so he could improve. He digested it and improved on the next lap. He showed calm and maturity.”

Oliver Bearman’s personality also counted

However, it is not only the track that counts. Ayao Komatsu was also seduced by the personality, the positive attitude of the young Briton, which makes you want to work with him.

“For this team to improve, the driver is a key element. He has a natural personality that is very motivating and positive. That’s great because it’s a tough job. We have 24 races to go, including triple races, which can be tiring.”

“Having someone like him – a really positive guy – it lifts the whole team up. If the driver leads the dance in that way, it helps the team raise its level of play.”

Bearman expected this tenure… but already sets his priorities

This start was an open secret, especially since Haas F1 had announced that it would reserve six free practice sessions for Oliver Bearman.

The Briton also confirms it: the announcement of his starting position was not a surprise, far from it.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this! In F1, nothing is confirmed until pen is put to paper, and that’s what happened on Wednesday morning. It’s been a crazy few months. I’m really happy that it’s official and that it’s out there.”

“When I signed, I felt a flood of emotions. You think about all the moments you have experienced in your career since day one, the number of hours you have put in, all those days in the rain in karting, those cold days with snow on the track, those early morning wake-ups and the loss of many memories with your friends – it all makes it all worth it.”

“I can’t wait to see what the future holds. This is just the beginning. This ten-year journey I’ve been on has brought me to this point – and now I’m starting again.”

Bearman is relieved to see that Haas F1 has offered him a multi-year contract: he will be able to learn calmly in his first year as a regular.

“Haas in general has been a great group of people to negotiate with.”

“They have been so welcoming, so kind and so helpful. I feel like I have found a perfect new family with them. I feel right at home with them.”

“I feel like I can be very productive in this atmosphere. Thanks to Ayao who brought this great atmosphere to Haas. I’m looking forward to getting to know them a little better.”

“I’m happy that they had confidence in me and saw my talent. This vote of confidence is very important. It will help me learn throughout my rookie season, learn as much as I can and prepare for the future.”

And until then, Bearman knows what to work on!

“A bit more neck training! You can never be too strong in the neck area, that’s something I learned the hard way in Jeddah. You don’t want to focus on the physical aspect of driving the car. So of course I’ll be working hard in the gym to be ready for Australia. [en 2025]. »

“I have a lot of time to prepare and I have a lot of things to do. I want to improve my technical knowledge of F1, there is a lot more to do than I have been used to. Getting familiar with that aspect of things can help me improve my performance on track.”

“I have more F1 driving planned, with Ferrari and more free practice with Haas. Now that it’s official, maybe I can adopt a slightly different mindset and use these opportunities as preparation for next year.”


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