Bearman challenged to emulate F1 legends in ‘horrible’ Ferrari situation

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Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert has challenged Ferrari reserve driver Oliver Bearman to emulate some of the sport’s great drivers when making his debut at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The British driver has been called up by the Scuderia to fill in for Carlos Sainz, who has been diagnosed with appendicitis and requires surgery.

It means 18-year-old Bearman faces an uphill battle to impress but speaking to RacingNews365, three-time F1 race winner Herbert said: “What an opportunity.

“He has been a part of the family for a while, he has shown some really good form in F2. It is a shame for Carlos, a real horrible situation when there is an improved Ferrari but that’s where it’s a good opportunity Bearman to jump in and do one of those ‘wow, that was a good debut’.

“He’s got a good Ferrari underneath him, this is one of those situations that don’t come around very often and when they come around, you’ve got to be ready to grab it and really use it to your advantage, for everybody at the end of this weekend to go ‘he’s someone who can be on board with us in the future’.

“So that’s the main thing for him, just working as hard as he can to achieve the best he can. This is the time to take it.”

On whether this was a similar opportunity as that given to Liam Lawson at AlphaTauri [now RB] last season, Herbert replied by suggesting Bearman should be aiming to emulate some of the greatest drivers the sport has seen.

“You go back to all the debutants who came in with a ‘wow-factor’, your Sennas, Prosts, my debut I finished fourth, Lewis [Hamilton] when he came on board and Max [Verstappen] – those guys, when you go ‘wow, there’s something special about him’.

“That’s what you’re always trying to achieve for yourself but also the media, teams, fans at home. This is an opportunity.

“This is not like Fernando [Alonso], who was in a Minardi, this is a Ferrari, this is a different scenario. So I hope it goes well for him.”

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