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“He Showed Maturity Beyond Years” – Komatsu on Bearman

12/03/2024

Ayao Komatsu’s praise for Oliver Bearman’s impressive maturity and performance heralds a promising F1 future, spotlighting his potential ascent in the racing hierarchy.

Before his successful debut at Ferrari, Oliver Bearman was slated to participate in no less than six Free Practice 1 (FP1) sessions with Haas this year.

Naturally, his anticipated promotion to replace Kevin Magnussen next year was further solidified after the recent Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia…

While Bearman did not compete for Haas in Jeddah, Ayao Komatsu, the American team’s principal, will take this real-world trial into account when making future driver selections.

Komatsu acknowledges: Bearman deserves a spot in F1 next year. In place of Kevin Magnussen, perhaps?

“This track isn’t the easiest, especially stepping in for FP3. I’m therefore very, very pleased for him and he was impressive.”

“He performed exceedingly well. Thus, I’m very glad he will join us for six free practice sessions this year. And I’m very happy for him.”

“He deserves a chance next year, I believe…”

However, Ayao Komatsu hasn’t ruled out Magnussen just yet.

“But aside from the penalties, Kev was fantastic in the race. Nico also proved his worth. So how can I sit here and say Bearman is ‘our driver for next year’? Based on the performances in the Saudi Arabian race, it’s Nico and Kevin.”

“Of course, we had Ollie run in Mexico and Abu Dhabi for FP1, and it became clear to me and most of us that he has something special. It’s not just about speed. He understands the objectives, he’s able to absorb information from the previous lap and make minor adjustments.”

“He showed maturity right away, as if he had been doing this for years.”

Kevin Magnussen thus received paradoxical praise from his director, Ayao Komatsu. Paradoxical because while ‘blocking’ the pack to favor Nico Hülkenberg’s strategy, the Dane also incurred a 20-second penalty and was accused of unsporting behavior. Notably for not letting Yuki Tsunoda pass back after overtaking him off-track.

Even Ayao Komatsu acknowledges, it would have been fairer for Kevin Magnussen to give back the position to Yuki Tsunoda!

“Kevin pushed him wide at turn 1. Of course, we should have given back the position. I thought: ‘Okay, here we go…’ An incredible, incredible job afterward. We told him to do laps around 1m36, and he was doing 36.2, 36.2, 36.2… Kevin drove the widest Haas F1 you’ve seen in a long time!”

“Without that? We would still aim for the 10th place because Lance had retired, and it’s clear that the top 5 fastest teams secure the top 10 places without issue… As to whether we would have achieved it, that’s another story.”

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