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240020-scuderia-ferrari-saudi-arabia-gp-qualifying-report_848daf02-16db-4395-970c-9429693c29f6 oliver bearman

Red Mist: Are 2.6 million kids potentially better than Bearman?

240020-scuderia-ferrari-saudi-arabia-gp-qualifying-report_848daf02-16db-4395-970c-9429693c29f6 oliver bearman

Ferrari endured a ‘different’ Saudi Grand Prix weekend, with Carlos Sainz out with appendicitis opening the way for Oliver Bearman to deliver one of the most spectacular debuts in recent Formula 1 history.

Sainz appeared faster than Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc before he withdrew to take sick leave. In the race, the Monegasque was hampered Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton playing their jokers (Softs) by not stopping during the Safety Car period to clean up Lance Stroll’s mess.

This meant Charles was plausibly a little more held up by them, than Max and Checo were while the McLaren and Mercedes went long with their tyres while most ducked into the pits when they had the chance under the SC.

Not that it would make any difference in the end. The Ferrari was close, but no cigar. And Red Mist is scratching his head as to how we could be so much stronger to score the fastest lap point on the very last lap. Hopefully, that’s just because Red Bull really could not care less. Does it really need to bother with bonus points?

The positive is that while catching Max may be a different matter, it seems that Ferrari almost has Perez covered. There’s a tenth in that gap on the outside. Three, probably four-tenths of a second to Verstappen. So all is not lost. Yet. Maybe Maranello can take advantage of the dot weekends between the rest of the races through to June, to pull off one of those in-season advances we have become famous for.

Bearman better prepared than most know

BEARMAN Oliver, Scuderia Ferrari SF-24, portrait during the Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2024, 2nd round of the 2024 Formula One World Championship from March 7 to 9, 2024 on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - Photo Antonin Vincent / DPPI

Our other car was party to an incredible debut that probably saved the bore fest upfront from relative oblivion. Oliver Bearman’s late call-up, single practice session and stand-up quali, was simply incredible.

His performance in his first Grand Prix was mature beyond his years and well-paced, under pressure to the flag, and all. To come in from nowhere to do that was out of the top drawer. It edges the 18-year-old record youngest Ferrari driver into the target crosshairs of many a Formula 1 team.

The point, however, is that Bearman was far better prepared than most youngsters for his shock debut. As a top Ferrari Academy student, Oliver has spent many an hour in the Ferrari SF-24 sim. Never mind, he’s actually driven older Ferrari F1 cars and has a far greater understanding of what it means to drive an Formula 1 car than most would ever believe.

Add to that Ollie also had his Jeddah eye in through his Formula 2 practice and qualifying. He had indeed qualified on the F2 pole before his big call-up. All of which is a huge tip of the hat to our Ferrari Academy. But that Academy influence has almost as much to do with it, as Bearman’s background does.

Another F1 prodigy in the Lance Stroll mould, Red Mist wonders how many youngsters out there who do not have daddy running multi-billion dollar insurance writing businesses to back their rise, have missed the Formula 1 boat? David Bearman is by no means short on cash.

Maybe there are many better than Bearman out there

Red Mist: How Rich Kid Bearman made it big overnight

To help make Red Mist’s very simple point here, consider this maths logic: According to most wealth sources, there are probably three thousand dollar billionaires on earth today. That’s just three thousand in over eight billion people on earth today. Or 0.00003% of the world population.

So how the hell can we ever say that the best drivers in the world are racing in F1, if half the kids come from that illustrious one in thirty-thousand background?

Statistically, it also means that there are 2.6 million kids out there better than Bearman or each of the other billionaire or super-rich dad’s kids racing in F1 today.

And in Red Mist’s mind, Ferrari, F1 and the rest of the academies need to address that first, if we are to avoid more of the snore fests this and the last two Formula 1 seasons have become.

But well done Ollie Bearman, nonetheless you are F1’s 776th driver. You’re indeed a very lucky young man!

Big Question: Is Oliver Bearman the real deal?