Haas boss outlines how Oliver Bearman can secure 2025 F1 seat after Imola audition

The 19-year-old stepped into the Haas for FP1 at the Emilia Romagna GP and impressed team boss Ayao Komatsu

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Oliver Bearman has been hailed for his faultless performance by Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu in practice at the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as he looks set to secure a drive with the team.

The 19-year-old swapped his Formula 2 car for the Haas VF-24 model for Friday’s first free practice as the American team weigh up whether to hand him a drive for the 2025 season after a stellar with Ferrari in Jeddah back in March.

Bearman didn’t disappoint behind the wheel in FP1, punching in the most number of laps (31) of all 20 drivers during the hour-long session and finishing 15th-fastest, ahead of his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.

Komatsu, who took over from Guenther Steiner before the start of the season as Haas boss, could not hide his delight with Bearman‘s performance as he hailed the young Briton’s display at Imola.

Ayao Komatsu has been impressed with Oliver Bearman. | Andy Hone / LAT Images

“Again, he’s done another very, very good job. He’s so calm,” Komatsu told the written press at Imola, including Total-Motorsport.com.

“He understands what he needs to deliver each session and then he’s able to absorb the information so quickly, either from himself from the previous lap or the engineers feedback. So again, I can’t really fault him today. Great job.”

Bearman likely to join Haas

Haas are expected to hand the exciting youngster a seat on the grid in 2025, with Hulkenberg joining Sauber and doubts emerging over Kevin Magnussen’s long-term future.

And when he was asked what Bearman needs to do to improve his chances of securing a drive, Komatsu replied: “I think continue to deliver like this.

“Like I said we haven’t looked in detail yet [at his data]. But at first glance… we can’t fault him what he’s done today and that was the case last year when he did two sessions as well. If he continues to perform like this, for sure it’s difficult to ignore [him].”

It comes just two months after Bearman finished seventh in the Saudi Arabian GP in the Ferrari after stepping in to replace Carlos Sainz, who had been ruled out due to appendicitis surgery. He earned praise for a solid drive in the SF-24, beating Lewis Hamilton on pace alone to collect six world championship points on his debut.

Shortly after his stint in the Haas concluded in Imola, Bearman returned to his team in time for F2 qualifying as he looks to improve on his current position in the championship. He has collected only two points from the opening two rounds in Bahrain and Australia – having missed out on the Saudi Arabian race due to his Ferrari commitments – but it seems his promotion to F1 is edging ever closer.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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