Home Featured The timeline of Ollie Bearman’s journey to a full-time F1 seat

The timeline of Ollie Bearman’s journey to a full-time F1 seat

by Formula Scout

Photo: Haas F1 Team

Just four years after an unexpected car racing debut, Ollie Bearman has a full-time F1 drive. Formula Scout has followed the many highs and occasional lows of that journey to the top level.

Sunday, February 9 2020

Nearing the end of a karting career that focused on the IAME classes rather than FIA OK categories, a 14-year-old Bearman begins his final year of karting with victory in the IAME Winter Cup at X30 Senior level. He aims to repeat his Euro Series and International Final titles won at Junior level in 2019, but this will in fact end up being his only Senior win.

Thursday, April 23 2020

A month into the United Kingdom’s first national lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bearman comes out on top of a 44-car field featuring Formula 1-bound Nicholas Latifi, Formula E star Oliver Rowland, IndyCar-experienced Ed Jones and then-DTM racer Ferdinand Habsburg to win the April Isolation Dallara Formula 3 Esports series’ feature race at Road America by just 0.173 seconds, and in a car adorned with a tribute livery to the National Health Service.

He finished ninth in the series, which was organised by Enzo Mucci. As a driver coach, Mucci went on to guide Liam Lawson and Bearman’s careers up the single-seater ladder, and also raced against his proteges in his Esports series.

Thursday, June 18 2020

Once lockdown restrictions ease and circuits opens, Bearman joins German team Mucke Motorsport for an Italian Formula 4 test at Misano (having already got his first real-life taste of an open-wheel car with British team JHR Developments in a private test at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit). He is 13th fastest on the opening day, 1.317s off the top, but improves by 1.742s the next day to finish the test in 11th and 0.56s off the benchmark pace.

He tests again at Imola a week later, before signing a deal with Mucke in July for a testing programme to fill the rest of his year between his delayed karting commitments.

Sunday, July 19 2020

Bearman joins Mucke’s rival US Racing for ADAC F4’s pre-season test at the Lausitzring and sets the pace by 0.095s.

Monday, July 27 2020

“Initially I was just going to test, then attack F4 next year; try to win the championship. But I went to Lausitzring for a test, I showed really good pace and I thought I may as well race.”

Bearman signs a deal with US Racing for the ADAC F4 season opener. That deal is later extended to two rounds, then incorporates Italian F4’s races at the Red Bull Ring, and by the time Bearman turns up to ADAC F4 round three he is committed to doing the full season. Later in the year the last two Italian F4 rounds are added to his schedule too.

Saturday, August 1 2020

On his return to the Lausitzring, Bearman comes 0.037s short of pole in his first ever qualifying session, then is 0.102s away from first place in Q2. Later in the day comes his race debut, and Bearman struggles with his first attempt at a start then has contact that leads to a pitstop and a distant 10th place finish.

The starts remain an issue in Sunday’s races, and while that leads to him hunting down the pack and charging up to seventh in race two, in race three he only finishes sixth thanks to a canny team pit call after heavy rain hits.

Sunday, September 13 2020

Bearman’s first car racing trophy is earned by finishing second to Jak Crawford in Italian F4 race two at the Red Bull Ring…

Saturday, September 19 2020

…and a win follows six days later back in ADAC F4. After once again missing out on a maiden pole by a tiny margin (0.061s), Bearman earns his first victory with a clean move on team-mate Tim Tramnitz.

Photo: ACI Sport

Saturday, December 5 2020

An unusually late finish to the Italian F4 season means Bearman’s third outing there comes three weeks before Christmas, and he gets an early present with victory in a safety car-filled race on a damp Vallelunga track. The next day he secures 10th place in the standings, despite having missed 60% of the season. His scoring rate is the fourth highest in the championship, while in ADAC F4 his full-time campaign results in seventh in the standings

Tuesday, January 26 2021

Bearman signs with Van Amersfoort Racing to race full-time in both ADAC and Italian F4.

Saturday, May 15 2021

The Italian F4 season starts at French circuit Paul Ricard, and Bearman is 0.316s off race one pole in Q1 but immediately bounces back with a huge improvement in Q2 that puts him on race two pole by 0.443s. A gap of 0.37s covers second to 10th.

Saturday, May 22 2021

Although he was rapid in qualifying, and took two podiums, stalling from pole and then having to charge from 20th to seventh means Bearman leaves France having had a weekend of what could have been. To shrug that off, he makes a step up the single-seater ladder the next weekend by joining Fortec Motorsports in GB3, starting and finishing second on debut at Brands Hatch.

Saturday, June 5 2021

Bearman takes the Italian F4 points lead in race five of the season at Misano with victory in race two, and it starts a seven-race winning run in the championship that makes Bearman one of the most watched talents in entry-level single-seaters. It could have been a nine-win streak – the second-longest in overall F4 history at the time – but he was stripped of the eighth for an engine-related technical infringement.

Photo: ADAC

Saturday, August 7 2021

Bearman technically becomes the first ever winner of a GB3 race due to its mid-season rebrand after being previously known as BRDC British Formula 3. On his second outing in the series at Snetterton, Bearman takes pole by a huge 0.884s before rain hits in qualifying and denies his rivals a chance to improve, then he puts in a controlled drive to win.

Friday, September 30 2021

Bearman is named as one of four finalists for the prestigious Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award, alongside the more experienced FIA Formula 3 racer Jonny Edgar and Euroformula contender Louis Foster, plus fellow 16-year-old and GB3 champion-elect Zak O’Sullivan. The Autosport Awards, where the winner will be announced, later gets delayed to February 2022.

Sunday, October 10 2021

Bearman secures the Italian F4 title in muted style, having slipped back to finish 10th in the final race of the penultimate round at Mugello, after starting on the second row with eventual winner Joshua Duerksen. Having finished fourth and seventh in the earlier races, it’s the first and only round in which he doesn’t finish on the podium at least twice.

Tuesday, October 12 2021

Two days after winning the Italian title, Bearman is named alongside three drivers from karting for the Ferrari Driver Academy’s Scouting World Final, from which the best could be given a place in the Scuderia’s junior programme. The quartet visit Maranello for physical and mental testing, simulator sessions and F4 tests on the Fiorano track.

Saturday, October 23 2021

The battle to win the ADAC F4 title is tighter than in Italy, especially after Bearman is penalised for colliding with his rival Tim Tramnitz on the last lap of race one at Hockenheim. Tramnitz goes on to win race two, reducing Bearman’s lead to 18 points.

Photo: ADAC

Monday, November 1 2021

After scoring a Monza hat-trick to complete the Italian season in style – seeing off a challenge from F4 newcomer Andrea Kimi Antonelli – Bearman takes part in his first official F3 test at Valencia. Driving for Prema on all three days, he is already expected to race with the team in 2022.

Sunday, November 7 2021

Despite a third clash with Tramnitz in as many rounds in the first race of the Nurburgring finale, Bearman claims the ADAC F4 title with a fourth-place finish in the last race of the season, having earlier dominated race two in the wet. He becomes the first ever driver to do the double of Italian and ADAC F4 titles.

Monday, November 8 2021

A day later, Bearman is officially signed to the Ferrari academy along with karting graduate Rafael Camara. FDA head Marco Matassa says Bearman demonstrated besides his speed, “other important qualities, such as the ability to give good feedback to the engineers, as well as understanding in which areas he can improve, while putting into practice what he was told to do before going out on track for the first time.”

Tuesday, December 28 2021

Prema confirms Bearman’s place in its F3 line-up for 2022, where he will be joined by second-year F3 racers Jak Crawford and Arthur Leclerc.

Sunday, February 6 2022

O’Sullivan, not Bearman, is named as the winner of the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award, just two days after he is announced as a Williams junior driver.

Saturday, March 19 2022

Bearman comfortably wins his debut F3 race on the road in Bahrain, but a “surprise” five-second penalty for exceeding track limits drops him to second place behind fellow rookie Isack Hadjar.

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Sunday, July 3 2022

After a tough couple of rounds, Bearman is back on an F3 podium on home ground in the Silverstone feature race, which he finishes third following an exciting side-by-side battle to the line with O’Sullivan over second place. It would be the first of four consecutive feature race podiums that help to pull Bearman into contention for the title.

Saturday, August 27 2022

Bearman scores his first F3 win in the sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps, benefitting from a chaotic start to go from fifth on the reversed grid to lead by lap two, and then managing to escape his pursuers at subsequent restarts. After finishing third in Sunday’s feature race for the fourth round in succession, Bearman is just one point behind the championship leader Hadjar with two rounds remaining.

Friday, September 2 2022

A red flag cuts qualifying short at Zandvoort and leaves Bearman 14th on the grid for both races at the twisting Dutch track. He just misses a point for 10th by one place in the sprint race, and does finish 10th in the feature race only to be penalised for a safety car infringement. He falls to fourth in the standings, 21 points behind Victor Martins.

Sunday, September 11 2022

After qualifying sixth and racing to second in the sprint race at Monza, Bearman enters the deciding race 13 points from the championship leader Martins. He again races strongly, passing Martins on track for second place before pressuring Zane Maloney for the lead. The race is red-flagged and Martins is handed a track limits penalty but, when the race is not restarted, still secures the title by five points ahead of Maloney and seven over Bearman.

Thursday, September 15 2022

Bearman is again named as one of the four Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award finalists, along with Indy Pro 2000 champion Foster, W Series champion Jamie Chadwick and GB3 champion Luke Browning. In December, Browning would be named the recipient of the award, which later helps him get Williams backing and a move up to F3.

Monday, November 14 2022

Prema confirms that Bearman will step up to its Formula 2 line-up after just one season in F3, with his first official test coming the following week in Abu Dhabi.

Sunday, March 5 2023

Bearman experiences a tough F2 debut in Bahrain, finishing 15th and 14th in the two races. Both he and team-mate Frederik Vesti suffer excessive tyre wear but Bearman tells Formula Scout he’s confident it will be a one-off related to the abrasive Sakhir surface.

Sunday, March 19 2023

For round two at Jeddah, Bearman qualifies second and trades the lead of the feature race with fellow rookie Martins before spinning out of third place, leaving him 10th at the finish.

Friday, April 28 2023

Bearman has just three points to his name as he takes to the streets of Baku for the first time for round four of the F2 season. But like several star rookies before him, he excels on the high-speed city track. He takes pole position with the “scariest lap of my life” after damaging his steering against the walls, and goes on to win Saturday’s sprint race from ninth on the grid before completing a double victory in the feature race.

Photo: Prema

During the weekend he explains that he’s changed his approach to driving the “less forgiving” F2 car after mistakes in the early rounds.

Sunday, June 4 2023

After a difficult first visit to Monaco, Bearman converts a pole into feature race victory once more in Barcelona. He’s now fourth in the standings, as the top rookie, with just over half the season to go.

Sunday, September 3 2023

The summer proves tougher for Bearman, who scores just one podium that actually counts for points – third in the Hungaroring sprint race – from the five rounds following Barcelona, with a third pole position at Spa this time not converted. He makes up for that at Monza by taking his third feature race victory.

He tells Formula Scout that weekend that he’s disappointed his F2 pace hasn’t always been turned into results, but that he’s focusing on the positives of his performances and progress as he gets ready to return for a second season in 2024.

Wednesday, October 11 2023

Bearman completes his first ever F1 test, driving Ferrari’s 2021 car at its Fiorano test track. This serves as preparation for two free practice outings with the Haas team in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi.

Friday, October 27 2023

Bearman impresses many in F1 with his first official outing in Mexico, where he’s 15th fastest ahead of four of his F2 rivals. Haas engineering director Ayao Komatsu, who a couple of months later takes on the team principal role, says Bearman performed even better than expected and hopes to have him driving in more sessions in 2024. It adds November’s Abu Dhabi post-season test to his schedule.

Photo: LAT Photo

Sunday, November 26 2023

Bearman finishes his first F2 campaign sixth in the standings – as the second-best rookie behind Martins – after failing to score in the final weekend in Abu Dhabi with a gearbox glitch forcing him out of the feature race.

Wednesday, December 20 2023

The long-expected confirmation that Bearman will remain with Prema in F2 in 2024 finally arrives. But not everything will stay the same. As Formula Scout reports, Bearman’s race engineer Antoine Okla – the mastermind behind Mick Schumacher and Oscar Piastri’s titles – has landed his own F1 graduation, joining McLaren in a tyre performance role. And 2024 will bring a brand-new car in F2, with Mercedes-backed Andrea Kimi Antonelli to be Bearman’s team-mate…

Saturday, January 27 2024

Ferrari reveals that Bearman has joined its roster of F1 reserve drivers for the first time, joining Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Shwartzman. A few days later, Haas gives him a similar role and confirms he’ll drive in six free practice sessions, beginning with Imola, Barcelona and Silverstone.

Sunday, March 2 2024

After struggling in pre-season testing at the circuit, Prema’s worst fears are realised when it scores just one point – with Antonelli – in the opening round in Bahrain. Bearman finishes 16th in the sprint race and 15th in the feature race and tells Formula Scout in the paddock afterwards that the team has “a lot of work to do” to improve in what he admits is “the biggest year of my career”.

Photo: Prema

Thursday, March 7 2024

Just four days later, Bearman and Prema bounce back with pole position on the very different circuit of Jeddah. “I knew it would be a good weekend already from lap one in free practice, and I didn’t get that in Bahrain. I think we’re back to normal performance now,” he said. But it wouldn’t be a normal weekend…

Friday, March 8 2024

Bearman is preparing for the F2 sprint race when he gets a call from Ferrari to step up and replace an ill Carlos Sainz for the rest of the weekend, forcing him to suddenly focus his efforts on F1 much sooner than expected. After jumping into the car at the start of free practice 3, Bearman handles his last-minute debut with aplomb, narrowly missing the final part of qualifying in 11th place before a strong race performance on Saturday to finish in seventh, keeping Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton at bay with ease.

After earning the plaudits of the paddock, Bearman’s full-time future in F1 seems more assured than ever. But he did have to withdraw from the F2 races, so remains on zero points.

Sunday, May 19 2024

Returning to F2, Bearman picked up just two points in Melbourne before another strong qualifying performance at Imola, where he joins Isack Hadjar on the front row for the feature race after having a deleted lap reinstated.  He takes the lead at the start but then suffers a disastrous pit-stop, stalling the engine twice and finishing 19th.

Sunday, June 23 2024

While some media reports suggest Bearman has already signed a Haas deal for 2025, his attention remains on improving his F2 form. In Monaco, the week after Imola, he raced to his best result of the season so far, finishing fourth in the feature race from 12th on the grid. But at Barcelona, despite April’s in-season test being held there, he and Prema are way off their race-winning form of last year. With high tyre wear a problem once more, Bearman fails to score and remains 17th in the standings.

Photo: Prema

Saturday, June 29 2024

The Red Bull Ring is kinder to Bearman’s tyres than Barcelona and he holds off Pepe Marti to win the sprint race. It’s Prema’s first podium of the season and Bearman is pleased to pay back the team’s hard work. He has to retire from Sunday’s feature race with an engine issue, but is now 14th in the championship – the same position he still holds in F1.

Thursday, June 4 2024

Haas announces Bearman as a race driver for 2025 onwards on a multi-year contract, the day before he takes part in FP1 at on home ground at Silverstone.

Sunday, March 16 2025

Bearman will begin his first full season in F1 at next year’s Australian Grand Prix.