Ollie Bearman responds to Nico Hulkenberg exit as Haas vacancy opens

"I proved in the past that I've got what it takes"

Oliver Bearman (GBR) Ferrari Reserve Driver (Right) with Damon Hill (GBR) Sky Sports Presenter. Formula 1 World
Oliver Bearman (GBR) Ferrari Reserve Driver (Right) with Damon Hill (GBR)…

Ollie Bearman knows that Nico Hulkenberg’s departure from Haas represents his chance to grab a full-time F1 drive.

British teenager Bearman is in action as a rookie driver for Haas in FP1 on Friday at the F1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

After hugely impressing as a replacement for the unwell Carlos Sainz for Ferrari on his unexpected F1 debut earlier this year, Bearman is eager to capitalise on this weekend’s next opportunity to impress.

He admitted that Hulkenberg’s confirmation that he will join Sauber in 2025 sparked his interest.

“Yes, of course I see it as my chance,” Bearman said in Imola.

“But just because there is a seat free doesn't mean I'm entitled to it.

“I still have to go out there and earn it through good performances in F2, but even more so the six FPs that I'm doing.

“I have to perform well and show that I'm ready to win the F1.”

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu previously claimed that Bearman’s performances in his six F1 practice sessions this year are more important than his race results in Formula 2.

“I haven't been set any goals, no,” Bearman said.

“I think the pressure is mainly coming from myself because I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself.

“But I just want to keep learning, keep improving, like I said every time I drive the F1 car I'm always increasing my experience.

“I still haven't done many laps in F1 compared to the other guys so I just want to keep improving and maximise my potential.

“I don't see any reason we can't fight for the championship in F2 and I'm really motivated to do so.

“But these six FPs are of course six great opportunities to prove my talent and what I can do.

“I don't place any more weight on them than I do on the F2 because of course you need to show that you can compete and race well. F1 is not just about doing the fastest laps so yeah, 50-50.”

'I proved in the past that I've got what it takes'

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen is two penalty points away from a race ban, creating another potential opening for Bearman to race in F1 this season.

“I'm going to be in Canada as a reserve for Ferrari but I'm also a reserve for Haas when I'm a reserve for Ferrari, so of course I'm ready,” he said.

“I showed in Saudi that I'm ready so if I get the call I'll happily jump in.

“Of course it's never the way you want to do a race if something like that happens but if it is the case, if it does happen then I'll happily oblige.”

Bearman was questioned about the difference between driving a Ferrari and a Haas.

“You say it's a different car but at the end in quali these cars are separated by 3 tenths,” he said.

“So a different car in the end there's not much in it.

“I'm not sure about the characteristics but from driving the last year Haas, characteristically it's quite similar and even on the simulator I couldn't notice many huge differences.

“Of course it will be my first time on this track with the F1 and I think that will be the biggest difference not the car.

“At the end the systems are very similar, same engine same electronics so I think the biggest thing will be learning the track.”

Bearman insists he will not fall into the trap of over-driving the Haas to desperately impress on Friday.

“On one hand I think I proved in the past that I've got what it takes,” he said.

“I just drive and normally if I feel comfortable then I can build up and push the car.

“It's really important the off-track side of things to lead the team well and make them appreciate me, try to be really appreciative of them because they put a lot of hard work in behind the scenes which is quite rarely appreciated.

“So that's one thing I'm really looking forward to working with the guys.”

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