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Haas: Bearman deserves F1 chance, but 2025 seat not a given

Haas team boss Ayao Komatsu says Oliver Bearman's outstanding Formula 1 debut for Ferrari shows he deserves a full-time chance, but played down suggestions he will move to Haas.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-24 battles with Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Bearman deputised for Carlos Sainz from third free practice onwards at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after the Spaniard required surgery for appendicitis.

Despite getting only a single one-hour practice session on a high-speed circuit that is difficult to master, the 18-year-old was immediately on the pace and just missed out on reaching Q3.

From his 11th grid slot, he battled the likes of Yuki Tsunoda and Nico Hulkenberg to a seventh-place finish, impressing with a strong and consistent second half of the race.

Bearman had his first grand prix weekend outings last year, completing two FP1 runs for Haas in Mexico and Abu Dhabi.

It led to him being a reserve driver for both Ferrari and Haas for the 2024 season.

When asked to rate Bearman's performance in Jeddah, Haas chief Komatsu replied: "Amazing.

"This circuit is not the easiest circuit to jump in from FP3. So I'm very, very happy for him and [he was] impressive."

Komatsu acknowledged Bearman deserves a full-time F1 seat in 2025, but stressed that it is far from a foregone conclusion that the youngster will get that chance with Haas.

Oliver Bearman, Reserve Driver, Ferrari and Haas F1 Team, chats with Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

Oliver Bearman, Reserve Driver, Ferrari and Haas F1 Team, chats with Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

In Saudi Arabia, Kevin Magnussen put in a gritty defensive drive which enabled team-mate Nico Hulkenberg to grab Haas' first point of the campaign in 10th.

Against the backdrop of those performances, Komatsu felt it would be "very unfair" to talk up Bearman as his future driver and claimed he would be happy to stick to his current line-up as things stand.

"He deserves a chance next year, I guess," Komatsu replied when asked about the signal Bearman had sent to the entire paddock.

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"[But] penalty aside, Kev's done fantastic today. Nico delivered as well. So how can I sit here and say, [Bearman is] 'our driver for next year'?

"Based on today's performance, [it's] Nico and Kevin."

Komatsu added he wasn't too surprised by Bearman's performance after the Prema F2 driver similarly impressed him while working with Haas.

"Of course, we ran him in Mexico FP1 and Abu Dhabi and straight away it was totally clear to me and most of us that he is something special," the Japanese engineer explained.

"It's not just the speed. It's the total package and he understands the objectives, he handled himself very well.

Oliver Bearman, Haas VF-23

Oliver Bearman, Haas VF-23

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

"Even during a run, he's able to sort of absorb the information from the previous lap and then make minor adjustments to make the next step better.

"He just showed maturity straight away as if he's been doing it for some years."

Bearman will travel to Melbourne next week to resume his F2 campaign after missing the Jeddah races and will again be available for reserve driver duties in case Sainz hasn't fully recovered from his surgery.

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur said he is “optimistic” that Sainz will be able to return to the cockpit, after the Spaniard joined Ferrari in the garage during Saturday's Grand Prix. 

A final call will be made before track action starts on Friday in Melbourne.

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