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Haas: Bearman's FP1 approach has "more weight" than F2 results in 2025 F1 chance

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu says Oliver Bearman's approach to practice sessions has "more weight" than his Formula 2 performances in considering him for a Formula 1 seat.

Oliver Bearman, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Following Nico Hulkenberg's impending departure at the end of 2024 to join Sauber next season, in preparation for its Audi rebrand in 2026, Haas now has an empty seat for 2025.

Bearman, who is currently reserve driver for both Haas and Ferrari, is considered as the favourite to take over Hulkenberg's drive due to his current position in the team and will take part in six FP1 sessions this year.

The 18-year-old Briton's chances of breaking through into F1 next season were enhanced by his super-sub appearance for Ferrari in Saudi Arabia, where he finished seventh in place of an unwell Carlos Sainz.

Komatsu says that, although Bearman needs to perform in F2 to at least ensure he maintains the necessary superlicence points to step up, the Chelmsford-born racer must primarily continue to demonstrate a desirable working ethic at Haas in his reserve role.

"It is a combination; he needs to perform in F2, for sure. But, when we work with him directly, you [need to] understand all the ins and outs, all the environment or the reasoning for certain things happening," Komatsu explained.

"So yeah, I'd put probably more weight on what we do with him, how he performs in our environment. But of course he needs to perform in F2. That's clear.

"It's completely open," Komatsu added. "We've got six [FP1] sessions lined up for him, so we will see the first of that in Imola. We are really looking forward to see how we can develop him and how well we can work together."

In reflecting on how well Bearman has integrated himself into the team thus far, Komatsu labelled the Prema F2 driver as "impressive" and noted that his first FP1 appearance for the team in Mexico last year had given him "nothing to complain about".

Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Asked if Hulkenberg's departure would influence Bearman's practice programmes, Komatsu said that the focus on assisting the team with its preparations for the given weekends retained the most importance.

"It doesn't change [the programmes] - because you can't as a team, you've got an objective for that weekend, you have a clear idea of what you need to get out from FP1, FP2, FP3 to prepare for your quali and race. So that approach doesn't change," the Japanese said.

"But it's more over does the driver understand that objective? Can he play a strong part in fulfilling that kind of objectives?

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"If this young driver is only interested in, let's say, going flat out everywhere showing the world how quick he is - that's not really mature approach.

"But Ollie is not like that. What Ollie's shown in Mexico and then Abu Dhabi, he's got the speed. But he really understands the bigger picture, and he can play a positive part in contributing to the team. I would like to see the continuation of that.

"Also, at some stage he will face an issue; maybe you've got the car issue that maybe he loses half a session? How does he react to that? That kind of adversity. So that'd be an interesting one to see."

Should Bearman manage that, Komatsu added that it would "of course" be a logical decision to promote him into the 2025 drive.

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