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Bearman gets Ferrari F1 reserve gig, Leclerc joins as development driver

by Ida Wood

Photo: Ferrari

Ferrari has announced that Ollie Bearman will join its roster of Formula 1 reserve drivers this year, and that Arthur Leclerc has been signed as one of its development drivers.

The 18-year-old Bearman became a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy after winning the German and Italian Formula 4 titles in 2021, and he finished third in the FIA Formula 3 Championship in 2022.

Last year he stepped up to Formula 2 and came sixth in the standings as a rookie. He claimed four victories and took three poles. In October he completed his first ever laps in an F1 car at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in Italy. The Briton drove the team’s 2021 car to prepare himself for then appearing in free practice for the Ferrari-powered Haas team at the Mexican and Abu Dhabi grands prix.

Haas also called him up for post-season testing at Yas Marina Circuit, and were unerstood to have sought his services for 2024 as well. But for now his priority, alongside his second F2 season with Prema, is to share F1 reserve driver duties at Ferrari with Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Shwartzman.

Leclerc, younger brother of Ferrari’s long-time F1 race driver Charles, was an FDA member from 2020 to 2023. His time as a Ferrari junior ended only four weeks ago, after a four-year spell in which he had become Formula Regional European Championship runner-up, FRegional Asia champion, an FIA F3 race-winner and then a F2 podium-finisher as a rookie last year.

For 2024 he will race in the Italian GT championship, and his F1 development driver role – which will primarily involve simulator and set-up work – will be shared with Antonio Fuoco and Davide Rigon.