Prema was not quite able to make it four FIA Formula 3 drivers’ titles in a row last year, but with Ollie Bearman it came close.
The Ferrari-backed rookie finished seven points shy of ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins after stepping up from Formula 4, and now heads to Formula 2 with Prema.
Rene Rosin, Prema’s team principal, gave Formula Scout his thoughts on a season that would have yielded victory on Bearman’s debut it not for a penalty and included eight podiums and a sprint race win.
“Honestly, the plan with Ollie had always been to take a season to grow,” Rosin says.
“He made a few mistakes in the first two rounds, where he compromised a bit the results. In Bahrain because of track limits they took the win away from him. In Imola, he was leading, then he overpushed, destroyed the tyres and crashed with [Gregoire] Saucy.
“But after that he was learning step-by-step. He has done everything the proper way. I’m really happy about the job he has done with us. An amazing season.”
Monza’s title decider, which Bearman entered 13 points behind Martins, ended early under red flags and Rosin found it “quite a disappointment”.
“Unfortunately, the last 15 minutes of Monza compromised his chance to win the championship because just overtaking [Zane] Maloney he would have taken it.
“We are discussing with the promoter and the FIA that this should not happen again because the result needs to be done properly on track with the full race distance. We waited such a long time that I think somehow we could have done the 15 minutes of the race.”
F3 sophomores Arthur Leclerc and Jak Crawford had been expected to lead Prema, but came sixth and seventh in the standings. Rosin believes both did “a good job, the speed was absolutely there and they could fight for the championship”.
They collided at the Hungaroring, which “compromised both drivers’ results, then Arthur got a penalty for the feature race and that massively compromised his championship”.
Red Bull junior Crawford is now F2-bound with Hitech GP, while Ferrari junior Leclerc graduates with DAMS.
“First of all, we’re happy to work with Ferrari, we’ve worked together since 2011,” Rosin says, joking that “we are Italian, so for sure the red horse is something”. However, he is keen to stress that “we are not only Ferrari; this is for me very important”.
“I think we are the sole team, possibly with ART GP, that has been able to win with Ferrari, Mercedes, Alpine and Red Bull drivers.
“With Oscar [Piastri] we had Alpine people sitting together with Ferrari guys. That emphasises the professionalism of the team and the capabilities to work at 360° and not just in one direction.
“For sure, being linked with an Formula 1 group is important, but it’s not the [only] thing. When we work together with a driver, we give him 100%, whether he’s in an F1 academy or not. That for us is one of the key points of our way of working.”