Bearman reminded Ferrari debut only ‘a step’ on the road to a bright future

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has reminded rising star Oliver Bearman that his “unrealistic” Scuderia debut was only a small step on the road to a potential future career in F1.

Bearman stunned the sport in Saudi Arabia after being given just two hours’ notice he would be stepping in for Carlos Sainz for the remainder of the weekend ahead of the final practice session at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

The 18-year-old Englishman, who had qualified on pole position for the F2 feature race but had to abandon his victory bid to make his F1 bow, initially delivered in qualifying, missing out on a place in the top-10 shoot-out by 0.036s to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

In the 50-lap race, the most exhausting of Bearman’s career to date, he then efficiently went about his business, keeping the SF-24 off the walls before taking the chequered flag in seventh place.

Vasseur was left stunned by the Ferrari Academy driver’s remarkable performance. Outlining the most impressive element of Bearman’s display, the Frenchman said: “We have had, a couple of times, good young drivers in the car, not only at Ferrari but on the grid.

“I would say that the pace is, I don’t want to say easy to have, but something they can achieve. The fact he did a short weekend, without FP1, FP2, without any mistake, for me, unrealistic, honestly.

“I was completely impressed by this, in Jeddah, between the walls, skipping FP1, FP2, and almost directly into quali.

“In Q2, he was doing a good lap, but he had the red flag. He then made a mistake on his second lap, and so he started the last lap with nothing on the board, yet he was only three-hundredths behind Lewis. With a clean Q2, I think he was able to make it into Q3.”

Vasseur was left additionally surprised by the composure displayed by Bearman despite being faced with the biggest test of his fledgling motorsport career to date.

“He was very calm in his approach from the beginning, and this was a huge asset for the weekend,” said Vasseur. “He had all this pressure, and you [the media] reminded him of all the points of the story, that he’s the youngest driver at Ferrari, that he’s blah, blah, blah.

“For him, sure, there was huge pressure but at the end of the day, he was able to skip it from his mind and be focused on the real point.

“He gave himself a clear target, but my understanding of this is that he didn’t pay too much attention to details, he was focused on the big topic, and in the end, it went very well.

“I was scared he would make a mistake at the pitstop or with the starting procedure, as we have seen a couple of times in the past with rookies, but he managed it very well.”

Vasseur, though, has reminded Bearman that after the plaudits and platitudes of his achievements in Saudi Arabia, the hard work begins again.

“You have to consider Jeddah as a step, not the final target,” stated Vasseur. “He did well but he will have other challenges in front of him in the future, with F2, and he will do a couple of FP1s with us and Haas during the season.

“All of you, including me, will not be speaking about Jeddah in six months, but about Mexico, Brazil, and if he is doing well or not. It means every single day will be a new challenge, but if he continues to keep the same approach, then it will go well.”


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