Bearman sees FP1 outings as crucial to securing Haas seat

Oliver Bearman views Nico Hulkenberg’s move to Audi as opening a door for him to secure a seat at Haas in 2024, but says he needs to earn the chance with his FP1 appearances starting at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg will leave Haas after two seasons to join Stake next year ahead of its transition into the Audi works team, meaning there will be at least one vacancy for Ayao Komatsu to fill. Bearman makes his first of six FP1 appearances for Haas in Imola this weekend, and says each outing will provide him with an opportunity to prove the seat should be his.

“Yes, of course I see it as my chance but just because there is a seat free doesn’t mean I’m entitled to it,” Bearman said. “I still have to go out there and earn it through good performances in F2, but even more so the six FPs that I’m doing, I have to perform well and show that I’m ready to jump into F1 next year.


“Of course I’ve been set back in F2 but… everything is possible, first of all, and now we’re in the European season where we know the tracks, we have understood the car a bit better. So I don’t see any reason we can’t fight for the championship in F2 and I’m really motivated to do so.

“But these six FPs are of course six great opportunities to prove my talent and what I can do. I don’t place any more weight on them than I do on F2 because of course you need to show that you can compete and race well. F1 is not just about doing the fastest lap, so 50-50.”

Bearman made his F1 racing debut in a Ferrari as a late replacement for Carlos Sainz in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, but says the practice sessions allow him to build up his experience without the added pressure of significant unknowns about his potential.

“I haven’t been set any goals. I think the pressure is mainly coming from myself,” he said. “I just want to keep learning, keep improving. Every time I drive the F1 car I’m always increasing my experience, I still haven’t done many laps in F1 compared to the other guys so I just want to keep improving and maximize my potential.

“I’ve never had doubt in my ability, since the start I always knew that I was good enough to fight whenever I’ve jumped into a new category I’ve been competitive straight away so that’s never been in doubt for me. I have a lot of confidence in my ability.

“First of all jumping in the Haas in Mexico last year was a good feeling — it gave me a lot more confidence because I was competitive there. And then doing 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 in F1 in the future.”

Story originally appeared on Racer