One of nine rookie drivers on the Formula 2 grid this season, Oliver ‘Ollie’ Bearman has already set out to make an impression across the opening two rounds of the 2023 campaign.
As the Championship heads to the Land Down Under this weekend, we got to find out a bit more about the PREMA Racing driver – from his excitement at venturing over to Australia for the first time, why he’s all about keeping things simple and his request for a secret Ferrari recipe.
WHERE DO YOU CONSIDER HOME?
“Chelmsford, that’s where I’ve grown up most of my life. I was born a bit closer to London, but Chelmsford is where we moved when I was around six years old, and I’ve lived there for the majority of my life. It’s a lovely town. Where we live now is a bit more old-fashioned and quaint, which is quite nice. The weather’s not amazing, but in the summer it’s lovely, with some nice countryside so it’s perfect.”
OUTSIDE OF MOTORSPORT, WHICH SPORTSPERSON DO YOU ADMIRE?
“I would say probably Lionel Messi, I was quite a big football fan when I was growing up – not so much now. I admire him and what he’s done even at this stage in his career, to win the World Cup last year was a really cool achievement and signed off his career basically.”
WHO ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH ON THE GRID?
“Quite a few drivers, we’re obviously quite close and spend a lot of time together. Off-track we’re all pretty close, but on track we’re all the same, you don’t treat anyone differently – except your teammate!
“Of course, Arthur (Leclerc) and Jak (Crawford), they were my teammates last year, so we have a really good relationship. Then the other Ferrari Driver Academy drivers like Dino (Beganovic) in F3, also Fred (Vesti) who’s now my teammate and a couple others. You say hi to everyone, we’re all pretty close.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHEAT MEAL?
“I’d have to say a pizza from Italy, on a Friday night that’s the cheat meal. I keep it simple with a margarita, I’m a bit boring maybe, but sometimes the simpler the better. It has to be a good pizza, like there are some really good pizza places near Maranello and that’s where we go.”
IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO ANY MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
“I’d start last year’s F3 Championship again knowing what I know, that’s a given. I feel like I have so much experience now and I would be able to do such a better job. I’d go back, probably restart my racing career with all the knowledge I already have, that would be a no brainer!”
IF YOU WEREN’T A DRIVER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
“I don’t know, I quite enjoyed school – less so when I had to balance school and racing, but I did quite well. At the moment, my friends who were in my year are doing their A Levels, so I would probably be studying hard and heading off to university, but I didn’t get far enough into school to kind of consider a career in education. I was quite lucky that I managed to move away pretty early on.
“Maths and English were my strong subjects in school, they were the ones where I got the best grades. I did pretty well, I got As and A Stars in them, so that was quite nice. To be honest, I think my maths has gone downhill a bit now, I need to start practicing, but at the time I was pretty good at both subjects."
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE AND TV SERIES?
“At the moment I’m watching Suits for the first time, I’m really loving it and it’s long, which is good because at the moment we have a lot of flights and a lot of time to kill. I like Breaking Bad as well, that’s really cool and I’m also watching the new Netflix series You, the latest season has just come out, so I watched that on the plane ride to Bahrain and had to figure out something for the plane ride home – it's really, really good.
“Films I don’t really watch. I don’t know why, but I don’t really watch or enjoy films. Of course, the famous ones like Days of Thunder and stuff like that are really cool, but I prefer to watch a series.”
WHAT WAS THE LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO?
“We had a few songs on the way to the hotel last night, but I found an Arabic song which I heard last year and Shazam-ed it. I was playing that to get us in the mood, it’s a fun song.”
FUNNIEST OR MOST EMBARASSING THING YOU’VE EVER DONE?
“I try to not embarrass myself on camera especially, which is a bit hard to do because PREMA are basically filming everything, but I’m sure if you looked there are some silly moments. I’ve done some stuff, but luckily, I don’t remember. When I was younger, I did a bit of silly stuff, but now I’ve matured a bit. There are some videos from the PREMA party which are quite funny, but nothing major.”
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM BIRTHDAY CAKE?
“I don’t really like chocolate cake, so I’d go for a normal vanilla cake or something. When we were in Maranello, it was Dino’s birthday and they served him an amazing cake. I hope I get that exact cake to take home because it was amazing, I want the recipe for that one.”
FAVOURITE RACING MEMORY?
“I think my first win at Spa in F3 was a really nice memory. We worked really hard for that, and it finally came, so that was a great feeling. Winning the Championships in F4 was also a mega feeling and getting the news that I was joining the Ferrari Driver Academy was up there with the best as well.”
WHAT’S YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
“I have a lucky sixpence. It’s the old British currency, it looks like a five pence coin, but it’s a sixpence. It’s meant to be lucky, so I take it with me everywhere in my wallet. I don’t check that it’s still there that often, but I’m scared that if I lose it, I’ll be in big trouble.
“I’m really careful about not losing that, but then there’s also stuff like car keys and the passport – got to be careful with those, they’re pretty important. You’re always second guessing, whenever I drive to the airport, I’m like ‘have I got my passport? Got my keys? Got everything?”
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?
“Keep it simple stupid! At some point I was trying to think a bit too much and trying to be too smart, wasting a bit of energy, so someone told me this and it kind of changed my mindset a bit. It’s quite a fun quote as well, I say it to myself to laugh a bit and it’s a bit light-hearted.”
FAVOURITE PLACE YOU’VE BEEN TO AND ONE PLACE YOU’D LIKE TO VISIT?
“I’ve been on holiday to Mauritius before, which was really cool. I think after a week you get a little bit bored there because it’s the size of London, so you explore it pretty easily. I’m really excited to go to Australia, I’ve never been there before, and it just seems really cool. Hopefully we get to spend a few extra days to look around, I want to go to Sydney and I’m looking forward to that.”