Oliver Bearman makes a sensational Formula 1 debut for Scuderia Ferrari at the Saudia Arabian Grand Prix

12 Mar, 2024
Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

At the age of 18 years and 305 days, WH Athlete Ollie Bearman is the youngest driver to make his debut for Scuderia Ferrari, as well as being the youngest British driver in Formula 1 history.

Having taken pole in Formula 2 qualifying the day before and following Carlos Sainz' appendicitis diagnosis, Ollie was drafted in for FP3 and thrown in at the deep end, having just 1 hour to learn a new car, and at one of the most challenging tracks of the year. It was a challenge he grabbed with both hands, finishing FP3 in 10th with 38 laps on the board.

A daunting qualifying session awaited, and again Ollie rose to the challenge, making it out of Q1 and qualifying 11th in Q2, just 0.036 behind Lewis Hamilton.

Making his grand prix debut with limited time under his belt, Ollie showed impressive maturity and focus. Holding place in 11th at the start and then switching to Hard tyres on lap 7 after a Safety Car, after which he passed Yuki Tsunoda, Guanyu Zhou and Nico Hulkenberg. His first time using the Hard tyres, Ollie made the most of the clear track and showed incredible consistency and improvement each lap, ultimately allowing him to maintain position ahead of a chasing Lando Norris & Lewis Hamilton on their soft tyres. Ollie won Driver Of The Day with over 48% of the votes.

Oliver Bearman #38

"What a great experience and opportunity to have my first race in Formula 1 with Scuderia Ferrari. It was physically demanding, especially in the end when I had Lando (Norris) and Lewis (Hamilton) behind me on Softs. I had to push flat out to maintain the gap and had to stay really focused, always checking my mirrors. It was a shame that the Safety Car came out so early, as I was comfortable on the Softs, but of course it was the right call to pit then and I’m very happy with the result.

I’m confident that I maximised everything today and had great fun out there. I’ll never forget this weekend. Thank you to the whole team for their support and for giving me the chance to race."

(Quote & Image thanks to Scuderia Ferrari)

  • Oliver Bearman
  • Formula 1