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Guenther Steiner

Steiner: I would give Bearman F1 seat

British driver Oliver Bearman impressed Guenther Steiner on his stand-in appearance for Carlos Sainz at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Former Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has revealed he would promote Ferrari junior Oliver Bearman to a full race seat for next season following a stunning debut at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Briton had taken pole position for the F2 feature race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit before being called up by the Scuderia to deputise for Carlos Sainz, who was forced to undergo surgery after being diagnosed with appendicitis.

Despite missing the first two practice sessions, Bearman only narrowly missed out on a top 10 spot on the grid and rose from 11th to seventh with a strong drive in the race.

Steiner, who gave Bearman his first F1 chance in free practice for Haas last season, wrote in his F1.com column: "Based on his performance in Jeddah, after what I saw from him at Haas, I’d put him in a race seat.

"Obviously, it depends on the circumstances and what seats are available. You need to see the whole landscape, but he would be a candidate.

"It's not 100% that he will succeed. It’s still a risk. But the way he handled himself in qualifying and the race in Jeddah, having just had one hour of practice, suggests the risk is so much smaller."

Bearman attraction

Steiner's comments regarding Bearman differ starkly from a previous remark when he said he would not venture down the rookie route again following the darkest of years for Haas when it ran Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin with disastrous consequences in 2021.

Bearman has been a part of Ferrari's Driver Academy through the junior ranks and could be placed in an F1 seat next season by the Scuderia. Steiner believes, though, his debut performance will draw attention from rivals on the grid.

"For prospective employers, that drive will have taken a lot of doubts away of what he is able to do," said Steiner.

"He’s in a good place as at the end of this year, there are a lot of contracts up with drivers, so he can put himself in good a position. He can’t go anywhere he wants, but I believe there is more than one opportunity for him.

"He has a contract with Ferrari, I don’t know how long it is. If you were interested in him, you’d go and speak with Ferrari and see what they want to do and see if something can be achieved. You of course need to see what is happening in your team with the drivers. Do you want him or are you happy with what you’ve got?

"I think a lot of teams will proactively look at him now after his performance last weekend. If I see the potential, other people will see it as well, so I think there is a good possibility for him to get a seat next year."

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