Ferrari can’t stop talking about Bearman: ‘I couldn’t have hoped for a better weekend’

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Ferrari can't stop talking about Bearman: 'I couldn't have hoped for a better weekend'

Ferrari engineer and head of the Ferrari Driver Academy Jock Clear compliments Oliver Bearman after impressing during his first F1 weekend. In Clear’s opinion, it was also enough to convince the grid that he deserves a spot in 2025. The Brit thinks that Ferrari could not have asked for a better substitute.

Bearman received a last-minute call-up to join Ferrari ahead of Friday’s third free practice session in Jeddah, after it was announced that Carlos Sainz had been diagnosed with appendicitis. The 18-year-old then produced an eye-catching performance to qualify 11th on the grid before scoring points on his debut by finishing the race in seventh. Bearman left an excellent impression on Ferrari, and in particular on Clear, who heads the Ferrari Driver Academy of which the 18-year-old has been a part for a long time.

“I couldn’t have hoped for a better weekend for Ollie,” says Clear in the F1 Nation podcast. ‘We can do a few things, we can practice some starts, but when you put him in on a Friday morning, one free training session and then you’re straight into qualifying against the big boys, that’s terrifying. That’s very, very intimidating for everyone,” Clear points out. In any case, Ferrari is very proud of how Bearman has done and how well the team has supported him. ‘The chief engineer said from the start: let’s keep it simple for him. There’s a lot of information out there, but we didn’t want to overload it.”

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Ferrari can't stop talking about Bearman: 'I couldn't have hoped for a better weekend'
Bearman was thrown into the deep end, but at the same time excellently guided by Ferrari. (Photo: Ferrari F1 Media)

This gave Bearman time to get up to speed and therefore did not push beyond his limits. “We knew he was capable of it, but gosh, I didn’t expect this under these circumstances,” praises the engineer. Clear believes Bearman’s debut on the fastest 27-turn street circuit made the task even more challenging given the nature of the track along with the high temperatures and humidity. In his opinion, it was enough for a seat in 2025. ‘I think so, I was already convinced of that, and I think Fred (Vasseur, ed.) was brave enough to put him in the car this weekend , under these circumstances, says a lot about what we have already seen from him.’

More praise for Bearman: ‘He did that very well’

What Clear found particularly impressive was how Bearman was able to handle a car he had never driven before. ‘He has done very well here (in Jeddah, ed.) in his F2 career. He was on the front row of the grid last year and he also took pole position on Thursday, so it is clearly a circuit he feels comfortable with,” the Briton points out. ‘But that’s a completely different story when you have to qualify in a car that you don’t know very well, because let’s be honest, he did a few tests with us, he did some driving in Fiorano, but all with old cars. This was his first time driving this car.”

Clear was already convinced of his talent prior to Bearman’s debut, but the race on the tight street circuit confirmed it once again. ‘The way he approached the weekend was really good. We said, if he gets through the first lap with all four wheels still on, we’ll be very happy. And he did. He rode around in P11 for a while, and from then on he made progress. You have to look at every lap in the race as another ten percent experience for Ollie in this car, so by the time he had done half the race he had doubled his experience. He learns super fast, he is super smart and sharp, but he never went over his limit. That’s what I’m most proud of,” Clear said.

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