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Hulkenberg warns Bearman’s F1 debut will be “forgotten” if he doesn’t perform in F2

Nico Hulkenberg says Oliver Bearman’s stunning Formula 1 debut with Ferrari will be “forgotten in two days” unless he backs it up with a strong F2 season.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team, does a steat fit

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

The teenager’s impressive drive to seventh place when he deputised for Carlos Sainz at Ferrari in Jeddah has inevitably led many observers to assume he will be promoted to a Haas race seat in 2025.

Bearman drove for the US outfit in two FP1 sessions last season and he has a programme of six practice session outings lined up for this year.

However, Hulkenberg believes Bearman should focus on his immediate job in F2 rather than be distracted by the prospect of a promotion to F1.

“I think it's very early and way too early to say that,” he noted, when asked by Autosport if he felt he was potentially in a race with team-mate Kevin Magnussen to secure a seat alongside Bearman.

“I think he's got a big job on his hands in F2 first of all, because otherwise, if he's not doing well there this Jeddah race is going to be forgotten in two days. You know how this business works.

“So I think quite a bit of pressure on him there to deliver now in F2, actually.”

Responding to the suggestion that it is more important for a young driver to shine when handed an F1 chance, he said: “Yeah, of course, as always if you get an opportunity, you have to make it work, and he did that in Jeddah 100%.

Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“But he's obviously a Ferrari junior. And if he keeps performing strongly, even in F2, I think he'll definitely get a chance eventually.”

Despite his praise for Bearman's debut performance, Hulkenberg reflected that the favourable Ferrari machinery at the Briton's disposal had elevated his potential.

“He was in the second-best car after all, and you see how powerful and how valuable that is, and what kind of difference that makes,” he added. “So in a way a bit tough for everyone else in the midfield and for us to see that. But that's how it is.”

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Echoing Hulkenberg's positive sentiments of Bearman's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix outing, Magnussen was quizzed on the potential of having the 18-year-old as a team-mate in the future.

“I think looking at him as a young guy racing, I can relate to where he is in his career and in his life. So I hope all the best for him,” said Magnussen.

“Nico is a very, very competent team-mate. I think we have a very good dynamic in the team, we’re working really well together. I think that the journey that we're on as a team, I think it's helpful having experienced drivers.

“We've just got to make the maximum of what we have right now with the two drivers and the car we have, which I think is going alright.”

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