until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Who will Bearman's Haas team-mate be? (+ why it matters)

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Ollie Bearman has seemed a lock-in for a 2025 Haas Formula 1 seat since late last year but the identity of his team-mate has been harder to work out.

There has been a lot of expectation in the paddock that Esteban Ocon will join Haas, but Valtteri Bottas has also been in contention. It may depend on the man everyone’s waiting on to decide: Carlos Sainz.

That’s because where Sainz goes determines which seats are left for Ocon and Bottas. And they are not fighting for exactly the same options - Ocon’s obviously not a contender at Alpine, the team he is leaving at the end of the year, and Bottas seems quite determined to move on from Sauber/Audi.

They are both in the mix at Williams but Bottas is considered the favourite there. And even Sauber/Audi, which is short on alternatives if it misses out on Sainz, does not seem in a major rush to lock Ocon down as a back-up.

That is why Haas keeps emerging as Ocon’s likeliest destination. But if not - if Bottas, Sainz and Ocon slot into the vacancies at Alpine, Audi and Williams between them - then Haas may well have no choice but to stick with Kevin Magnussen.

Given the race-winning options on the table this would be a disappointment for Haas, as the others are an upgrade on a driver the team knows very well. And who partners Bearman matters to both driver and team.

The season Haas is having has put it back on a good midfield trajectory and other line-ups are very strong. Having lost Nico Hulkenberg, Haas needs to counter that properly or it will slip back.

As good as Bearman will likely be, he probably cannot lead a Haas midfield fight single-handedly. The grid will be too tough and realistically though he will offer great peaks and probably be at a consistently good level, he will still be a rookie, and needs good point-scoring assistance. He also needs a team-mate to learn from, who is constantly pushing him on to ensure the car is being maximised week in, week out.

That’s what Hulkenberg brought to Haas, as the team felt Magnussen was not at the upper end of the car’s potential as much as he should have been. The last couple of years have shown that. Hence a Bottas or an Ocon would be an upgrade - still not A-list, 100% maximisation drivers of course (Haas isn’t in the running for those!) but an upgrade nonetheless.

If Magnussen stays, it will be a missed opportunity for a line-up refresh and a net upgrade overall. But while he has his limitations, he at least brings the experience to counter a rookie Bearman and, though not a superstar himself, is a known benchmark.

He’s better than a weak F1 driver, but not on a Hulkenberg level - giving Bearman a very clear target to be taken seriously from 2025 onwards. 

Bearman will be determined to beat his team-mate whoever it is, but the calibre of that team-mate will be key to the narrative around his performance and to how the likes of Haas and Ferrari judge him too.

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