Ollie Bearman is confident tyre management struggles won’t be a recurring issue during his rookie Formula 2 campaign after a tough debut at Bahrain.
Prema suffered from excessive tyre wear, especially on Pirelli’s soft compound, at the season opener. In fact, both of its drivers had to resort to making a pitstop in the shorter sprint race which most of the field completed on one set of soft tyres.
The situation wouldn’t improve on Sunday and after running as high as fourth in the feature race, Bearman dropped to 14th place at the chequered flag after “struggling for pace for the majority of the race”.
“The first stint was quite okay, I had a bit of a flat spot from the first lap, which held me a bit,” he explained afterwards.
“Then on the option [soft] tyres I was massively struggling for pace, and I was just managing my position for the rest of the race. Eventually, I reached the tyre performance cliff. We keep working for the next round in Saudi Arabia.”
Formula Scout asked Bearman on the eve of the second round of the championship whether there were concerns within Prema about the excessive tyre degradation shown at Bahrain, which has a highly abrasive track surface, and if the issue could appear again in future races.
“No, to be honest I’m quite confident that it was kind of a one-off thing,” he replied. “Of course, Bahrain is quite an outlier of a track in the sense that the tarmac is very rough, the degradation is very high.
“On my side I need to work of course on tyre management, and especially on a track like Bahrain, it’s magnified quite a lot. So for the rest of the year, I’m not worried at all. We can make steps from my side, and from the team side, so I have no doubt that it will be fine for the rest of the year, and I’m looking forward to keep going.”
The Ferrari Driver Academy member acknowledged he has still a lot of room for improvement. He also highlighted the importance of not making mistakes with F2’s “less forgiving” larger tyres after racing on smaller Pirellis in Formula 3 in 2022.
“It’s really important that you’re managing a really perfect lap, and you can’t get away with little snaps because they punish you with these 18-inch tyres,” he affirmed in comparison to the F3 car.
“I just need to be extra careful for the future races to be careful of those mistakes I was making that led to a bit more degradation in Bahrain, and keep working,” he then added.