until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

What you need to know about Ferrari's biggest hope since Leclerc

by Edd Straw, Scott Mitchell-Malm
5 min read

Newly confirmed 2025 Haas Formula 1 driver Ollie Bearman is Ferrari's biggest hope of producing another star for its own team since Charles Leclerc.

Bearman is considered one of the brightest prospects ever to come through the Ferrari Driver Academy.

He is seen as one of the most likely to have a potential future as a Scuderia Ferrari driver, making him part of a rarefied group who have been in the scheme.

He’s up there with Jules Bianchi, who was on a trajectory that might have taken him into a Ferrari seat and set for a move to Sauber for the following season when his tragic accident happened in the 2014 Japanese a Grand Prix.

Leclerc was long seen as a future Ferrari racer and promoted in only his second F2 season.

Bearman is probably the third of the trio that have internally been seen as the best prospects.


Ollie Bearman

While Mick Schumacher and Antonio Giovinazzi both reached F1 while on Ferrari’s books, neither ever quite reached that level of expectation within Ferrari.

Sergio Perez was being tracked with interest but turned his back on Ferrari to join McLaren in 2013 when he might potentially have been able to land a promotion for 2014 - although that was far from a foregone conclusion.

Bearman is therefore arguably only the third Ferrari junior since the academy was formed to be seen as a likely future Scuderia driver. That he has already been entrusted to race as a stand in shows how big an opportunity he could have.

“I hope so,” Bearman said about the prospect of following in Leclerc’s footsteps.

“I mean, that would be the dream, right?

“It's not really in my hands, I feel like, but all I can do is perform at my best. And that's my goal anyway.

“Everything that comes after that, is not really within my control.”

Lewis Hamilton Ollie Bearman

The question is when might that chance arise? Barring the unexpected, the earliest that could arise would be 2027. Lewis Hamilton will be at Ferrari at least until the end of 2026, while Leclerc is there for the long-haul.

That’s a good timeline for Bearman - who admitted it’s “hard not to think that” but insisted that he isn’t! – meaning that his first 18 months for Haas will be critical in proving to Ferrari that he really does have what it takes. He may have to wait longer than that as Hamilton could continue into ‘27 and even beyond.


Ollie Bearman

However, the timescale doesn’t matter. What is significant is that Bearman maximises the opportunity with Haas in order to make it a no-brainer that he does get the call when Ferrari has a vacancy.

Ferrari will scrutinise his performances closely and expect him to progress along his learning curve rapidly. He will have to hit high standards and achieve far greater consistency than say, Giovinazzi did.

Antonio Giovinazzi

He was a driver who Ferrari held in high regard but always needed to convince his employers that he had what it took to be one of its F1 drivers. And while Giovinazzi’s status as Ferrari WEC ace and simulator driver is a good one, Bearman can aspire to more.

He’s already shown that he can deal with extraordinary pressure with his Jeddah outing. Now Bearman needs to prove he can do it week in, week out.

Bearman is acutely aware of the opportunity ahead of him. The goal is obviously to do as well as possible with Haas but the long-term allure of Ferrari is strong.

“Of course, my long-term dream remains the same: I want to be successful in F1, I want to win races and championships,” he said.

“And with the support and loyalty that Ferrari have shown to me, it is only right that I would want to do that with Ferrari. It's every boy's dream.

“Making my debut with them, of course, made that even stronger.

“But by the same token, I'm also looking at this short-term, medium-term future.

“My short-term is finishing Formula 2, and looking towards the next year with Haas. And I'm really excited for that as well.”


Ollie Bearman Ferrari Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2024

Balancing those focuses is vital. Bearman cannot afford to get carried away. To emulate the Leclerc trajectory he needs to emulate the quality of Leclerc’s rookie season.

And Bearman is getting a reality check in F2 that seemed to make him realise nothing is a foregone conclusion. In fact, he reckons without his shock Ferrari stand-in back in Jeddah, the F2 struggles might have counted against him more – and instead, it enhanced his case, and helped his confidence.

“I think the Saudi performance was really the ‘stars aligning’ moment that made my step into F1 possible because I think without that, it would really have been difficult, especially with how it's going at the moment,” he said.

“So that really, really helped me.

“And also for my own confidence, you never really know how you're gonna perform until you race against real F1 drivers. And that was my opportunity. And I feel like I did a decent job.”

But as for 2025, Bearman says neither he or Ferrari have got into expectations at the moment. That will be determined by who his team-mate is and what kind of car Haas ends up producing. However, while a touch cliched, Bearman’s assertion that nothing Ferrari sets for him can be tougher than his own expectations is also a nod to the mindset that has brought him this far.

“I haven't gone over expectations yet,” he said. “It’s a bit of a moving target, you have to see the score, it changes year on year and even race on race.

“It's not really something I've thought about yet. But my personal expectation, and what I want to achieve, is improving race on race, feeling like I maximise my performance and see progression in myself, in my ability through the year.

“That will be my target.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks