Ollie Bearman celebrating in the Formula 2 paddock

Oliver Bearman: a pivotal year

Image source: Prema Racing


The 2023 FIA Formula 2 season was as competitive as ever, with several drivers taking their turn in the spotlight. Even when surrounded by such esteemed competition, Ferrari Driver Academy member Oliver Bearman’s performances were on another level and signalled a turning point in his young career. Following an astonishing pole in Baku – one he achieved with a bent steering column – the Chelmsford native was the talk of the F1 paddock and is now knocking on the door of motorsport’s elite.

Expectation will weigh heavy on Bearman’s shoulders in 2024; as a race-winning returnee to Formula 2 there’ll be a certain onus on him to take more race wins and even vie for the title. But how did he get to this point in his career? What accolades earned him a spot in the Ferrari Driver Academy and, what can we expect from him in the coming season?


Rising through the ranks


Bearman’s career – like almost all young drivers of the modern era – began in karting in 2013 and after back-to-back near misses with the Super 1 Honda Cadet national title in 2016 and 2017, he finally took his first championship in the 2019 IAME Winter Cup in the X30 Junior class and followed it up with the IAME Euro Series title that same year. In 2020, he also claimed the IAME Winter Cup in the Senior category to cap off his stint in professional kart racing.


Formula 4

Having made the transition to single-seaters, Bearman spent his first season competing in ADAC Formula 4 and Italian F4. Although neither campaign yielded a championship, he still managed a win apiece in each category and set himself up for a superb double-title tilt the following year.

In the 2021 Italian F4 standings, Bearman was over 100 points clear of his nearest rival after a remarkable seven-race run of victories and two triple-win events at Vallelunga and Monza. His ADAC Formula 4 run might not have been quite so dominant, but six victories and a further five podiums were enough to secure him the title.


Formula 3

Making the step up to the official Formula 1 feeder series in 2023, Bearman completed his first season as part of the F1 paddock with a total of eight podiums and one win from 18 events. By season’s end, the Brit was third in the standings and just seven points shy of the summit of the standings.


Formula 2 

Bearman delivered on the biggest stage to date during the 2023 Formula 2 season. The relentless consistency of his peers may have been lacking, but outright pace certainly wasn’t.  

It was the race weekend in Baku that got the entire F1 paddock talking about Bearman, as he announced himself to the world with a stunning pole position lap while nursing a broken steering column. He went on to win both the Sprint Race and the Feature Race, fending off his team-mate in the sprint and eventual champion Théo Pourchaire during the feature, in what was undoubtedly one of his best weekends to date.

Later in the season, Bearman completed another excellent pole-to-victory run during the Feature Race at Catalunya, although he did have to fight his way through the field following his pitstop. A final win came at his home from home at Monza, drawing on his experience racing in Italy to secure the Feature Race win.



What next?

Formula 2

Continuing with Prema Racing – the team he has raced with since his 2022 Formula 3 campaign – Bearman will return for a second season of Formula 2 in 2024. With a first year in his pocket, and plenty of experience and learnings with it, he will contest the Formula 2 championship once more and although it hasn’t been stated officially, it goes without saying that the title will be on his mind this year.

Formula 1

Getting behind the wheel of an F1 car for the first time is an experience never to be forgotten, and Bearman got his first opportunity to do so during the 2023 Mexico Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix FP1 sessions. Providing that opportunity was Haas F1, and to further his development as part of the Ferrari Driver Academy in 2024, he’ll be driving in a further six FP1 sessions for Haas. In addition, he was announced as reserve driver for Haas, so will be ready to step in at a moment’s notice should Kevin Magnussen or Nico Hülkenberg be unfit to race.