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FIA F2 Silverstone

How Britain’s leading driver in the junior ranks is another step closer to F1

Ollie Bearman has rocketed up the junior single-seater ranks and at just 18 he is one step away from Formula 1. The British Racing Drivers’ Club SuperStars’ ace details his rookie Formula 2 season so far and his hopes for the rest of 2023 ahead of his home round at Silverstone

Oliver Bearman, PREMA Racing

I expected my debut season in Formula 3 in 2022 to be one of learning, building and focusing, but it didn’t end up being that way. After Silverstone, which was round four, I had a turning point and I started to get some good results. At the end of the year, I was only seven points off the championship, which subsequently was enough to get me up to F2.

Being with Prema for F3, if you get a decent result there’s almost always a seat for you in F2. I am quite confident in my management, Ferrari and Prema, in that whatever decision we took would be the right one. When I found out that I had the drive in F2, it was a surprise, but a very good one.

This season started with testing in Bahrain, which was successful, but the racing was difficult. We went to Jeddah, and I was on the front row. Ever since then, I have had no doubt in my ability to put a lap together and the team’s ability to give me a car capable of being up there. That weekend still came with its challenges as we had a DNF in the sprint race, which was completely out of my control, and I made a mistake in the feature race and threw away my first chance at a podium.

The management of races is something that has taken me a bit longer to come up to speed with. Compared to F3, there is a lot more happening. For example, knowing when to push and when to save your tyres. The F2 car punishes every mistake you make, so you need to be super-disciplined.

From Baku (in April) onwards I felt at ease with the car. You only get that kind of feeling when you know you’re going to be fast. Whenever I do have that feeling with the track and the balance, I know it’s going to be a decent weekend. In qualifying I made a mistake but managed to put a lap in for my first pole position, which was amazing. Throughout the rest of the weekend, I stuck to the basics and executed two clean races, especially in race two, where I controlled the field. Another bonus was that I made history by being the first driver to top every session over the weekend.

INSIGHT: How Bearman’s Baku double stacks up in historic junior single-seater feats

Bearman made history with a clean sweep in Baku

Bearman made history with a clean sweep in Baku

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

Monaco was a tough one. You want to impress, and I had a good feeling going into the weekend, but during free practice, I made a small error in the entry of Portier, which came with a big consequence. This made qualifying difficult, having missed most of free practice, and during the feature race, we were unlucky with red flags as we were one of the quickest on track. It was a reminder that you need to be super-sharp, and any mistakes and any loss of track time comes at a huge price.

I was confident heading to Barcelona as I knew we could potentially be up there, but I wasn’t expecting pole position. That was a really nice result and it makes your life much easier when you can lead into Turn 1. The sprint was my first time racing in the wet, but the whole weekend was another good result and good momentum for the team.

Austria last weekend was tough as qualifying and race one didn’t go our way, and everything was overshadowed by the news from Spa. I wish to send my thoughts and sympathies to the van’ t Hoff family. Race two was a good recovery drive and I was happy with the car, so I know what I need to work on, and it’s clear going into Silverstone that with a better Friday, we can keep scoring some good points.

It’s a privilege to be part of the BRDC SuperStars. When you look at the history of the programme and see the names who have been on it, you realise that you’re part of something special

Trying to define my expectations for my debut F2 season is a tough one because I do feel a bit of pressure from the outside. I had a good year in F3, and I was one of the highest-scoring rookies, so the expectations from fans and the media were always going to be high. I try to focus on learning, which is how I approached my F3 season. I have no doubt that if I perform at a high enough level then we will have enough to fight at the front.

It’s a privilege to be part of the BRDC SuperStars. When you look at the history of the programme and see the names who have been on it, you realise that you’re part of something special and I’m proud to represent the club as a Young Driver. It’s useful to know that if I need some help, advice, or just want to talk to someone outside of my circle, I have that support network there.

The Brit is fourth in the F2 drivers' standings going into his home round

The Brit is fourth in the F2 drivers' standings going into his home round

I am very excited to be racing at my home track this weekend for the British Grand Prix. Firstly, because I’m the only British driver on the grid, which is an honour, and secondly, because in F2 the drivers are better known, which enhances your experience and means I can enjoy the weekend even more.

I’ve got a lot of family and sponsors coming to watch and it’s one of the best tracks on the calendar, as well as my favourite track, so I’m super excited. We had a good weekend there last year so I’m confident we can have a good one in front of the home fans and give them something to celebrate.

What can Bearman produce at Silverstone?

What can Bearman produce at Silverstone?

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

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