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Oliver Bearman

Bearman facing six-hour 'job interview' with F1 future on the line

Oliver Bearman has six FP1 sessions with Haas this year to further prove he is worthy of a full-time F1 seat for next season.

Oliver Bearman
To news overview © XPBimages

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu believes the six first-practice sessions Oliver Bearman faces this season will serve as "a pretty good job interview" as he aims for a place on the F1 grid next year.

Bearman continues his F1 education this weekend with an FP1 outing ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, replacing Kevin Magnussen.

Komatsu has confirmed Bearman will run the base car from the opening grand prix, with Magnussen then to drive the currently upgraded machinery that will allow the team to run comparison checks.

After FP1 outings for Haas last year in Mexico and Abu Dhabi, and then his stirring performance with Ferrari in Saudi Arabia when he deputised for Carlos Sainz who required appendix surgery, Bearman is effectively six hours away - the total time of this year's practice sessions - from replacing the departing Nico Hulkenberg in 2025.

"We've got six FP1 sessions, and that's a golden opportunity for us to work with him and then assess how he is, where he is, what his strengths or weaknesses are, and see where we can develop him and work together if we want to," said Komatsu. "So it's a pretty good job interview situation."

As to whether there was anything in particular Komatsu wanted to see from Bearman he had not previously witnessed, he replied: "The sessions he's had with us so far, everything has gone smoothly.

"I'm not hoping for some misfortune on the car or anything, but at some point, he will face some obstacles and some things that won't go his way - a car issue, a yellow- or red-flag situation, or whatever.

"It's then how he handles that stuff, being in a compromised situation, how he's still going to have to focus and behave in a manner that he can get the best out of it."

Haas has 'full confidence' in Bearman

Although Komatsu would like to see Bearman challenged and face situations he has yet to encounter in F1, the Japanese has no doubt the 19-year-old will comfortably handle himself.

That was certainly the case out of the car on Thursday morning at Imola when Bearman addressed the media in a confident, assured manner that has also seemingly transposed itself into the car on the few appearances he has made so far.

With expectations on Bearman's shoulders considerable, Komatsu said: "That's part of the training. At some point, he's going to get those highs, with the media attention, especially if he wants to drive for Ferrari one day.

"He is just assessing how he handles all the situations. Of course, we will work with him and help him as a team, but he is going to have to deal with a hundred of those situations.

"Of course, it's coming very fast for him, but it's probably good to have these FP1 sessions. He's now got six of them. Let's say he doesn't handle things as well as he should have, say this weekend, then he's got Barcelona to correct it straight away.

"But I have full confidence in him, after the way he handled himself in Mexico and Abu Dhabi with us, and also in Saudi with Ferrari.

"Every single time there's been a new challenge for him he has stepped up and managed it in a pretty impressive way, so I have full confidence."

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