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F1 News: Ferrari Full Of Praise For Ollie Bearman - "Surprised Me Straight Away"

Ferrari's head of track engineering, Matteo Togninalli has spoken out on Ollie Bearman's F1 debut.

Oliver Bearman's Formula 1 debut was nothing short of extraordinary, with the young British driver swiftly coming to grips with the demanding nature of F1 racing. Ferrari and Haas have both expressed their admiration for Bearman's performance, which defied expectations for a newcomer.

Key Takeaways:

  • Oliver Bearman demonstrated outstanding adaptability and skill in his Formula 1 debut, quickly mastering the nuances of the sport.
  • Senior figures at Ferrari praised Bearman's calm demeanour and intelligent approach to racing, underscoring his potential in the sport.
  • Bearman's debut race in Saudi Arabia saw him finishing in 7th place, earning points in his first-ever Grand Prix appearance.
Ollie Bearman - Ferrari

From his initial test drive at Ferrari's Fiorano circuit to his competitive debut in Saudi Arabia, Oliver Bearman's journey into the world of Formula 1 has been meteoric. The British teenager, who transitioned from Formula 2 to the pinnacle of motor racing, made an immediate impact, impressing the Ferrari team with his natural talent and speed.

Ferrari's head of track engineering, Matteo Togninalli, reflected on Bearman's first encounter with an F1 car, stating, as quoted by

“One thing that surprised me straight away the first day in Fiorano in October of ’23.

“He went out for the first time in his life with a Formula 1 car and like the third lap that he did at Fiorano – a new track, new car, new situation – he was already up to speed. So that is talent."

Bearman's ability to remain composed under pressure was also a subject of praise. Togninalli noted:

“He was a guy, 18-years-old and you would never expect that straight away he was up to speed. The other aspect to me that is paying off quite a bit is he is very calm, he’s very focused, he’s not panicking.

"So I think he has a great future. I hope he can achieve whatever he wants in life and I’m sure he can.”

Ollie Bearman - Ferrari

Bearman's unexpected debut in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a testament to his readiness and skill. Filling in for Carlos Sainz, who was sidelined due to appendicitis, Bearman delivered a performance that exceeded all expectations. 

“We are very proud and very happy because he jumped into the car in FP3 in Saudi and was up to speed straightaway."

Jock Clear, Ferrari’s Driver Academy boss, also weighed in on Bearman's debut, expressing his astonishment at the young driver's performance. Clear stated on the F1 Nation podcast: 

“I’ve often said about Oliver, he will get better and better the closer he gets to F1, because F1 recognises real intelligence.

“Drivers that can think their way around situations really, really shine in F1. Ollie is super sharp, super clever, and I think that's what he's demonstrated this week.

“We know he's quick. We've seen him in our car. We know that he can drive a car fast. But the way he's approached the weekend, the way he approached the race, step by step – you've got to get off the grid and you've got to get alongside some fairly feisty opposition who are going to get their elbows out. He did that cleanly.

"We said if he comes around the first lap with all four wheels still on, we'll be really happy. He did that. He was still in P11, so he held his position off the grid, and from then on he just grew into the race."

Clear continued to laud Bearman's adaptability and learning curve during the race, stating: 

“You have to recognise every lap of the race was another 10% experience for Ollie in this car, so by the time he'd done half the race, he’d doubled his experience in this car. He was learning super fast, but he never overstretched himself. I think that's the thing I'm most proud of from him.”

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