A home race for his PREMA Racing team as well as Ferrari, the Formula 1 Academy he is part of, Oliver Bearman believes that there is no place better to experience a turnaround in fortunes than the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

Very much another old-school track, the famed Temple of Speed has been a happy hunting ground for the Briton in the past. Last season, he put in a stellar performance across the Formula 3 season finale to achieve back-to-back podiums and get close to clinching the Drivers’ Championship at the final hurdle. This time around, it’s all about righting the ship and recapturing the stronger form that he had earlier in the 2023 campaign.

“It's always really cool here. I was walking around Milan yesterday and a few fans stopped and asked for photos which was really cool. The fact that it’s the team’s home race and Ferrari’s home race, in a sense it’s like my second home race, which is really cool. It’s an honour and the fans here are really cool - they make the event very special.

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“I’m looking forward to it. We had a really good weekend here last year in terms of pace. Also, the team in F2 had a strong one, winning the Feature Race last year. This track is always a fun one to drive at so I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Bearman didn’t get the results he’d quite hoped for last time out around Zandvoort. The PREMA driver was one of many hindered by Red Flags in Qualifying and in the Feature Race, contact with Victor Martins left him out of the running, but he has high hopes things will turn around this weekend.

Last time out, the Ferrari junior says that the team looked very competitive over one lap and race stints but luck, or a lack of it, conspired to hinder their performance across Round 12.

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“In terms of personal performance, I would say it was one of my stronger weekends. I didn’t really see a moment where I could’ve controlled that would’ve made my weekend any better. In Qualifying we had the Red Flags when I really felt we had the potential to be more up the front in the second run. Race 1 didn’t happen in the end and in Race 2, two times I was taken out of the race. Apart from those, I had really strong pace all weekend. The results weren’t there but the pace was, so I have every bit of confidence going into this weekend.”

Looking ahead to the challenges on track, there is no avoiding the importance of a tow around the 5.793km layout. Made up predominantly of flat-out blasts through the Monza Park trees, drivers spend almost 80% of the lap with their foot flat to the floor.

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A little helping hand from a driver in front never hurts, particularly with Qualifying always being a closely contested affair around the Italian circuit.

“The optimum in Qualifying is to have a bit of slipstream but on the other side it’s not easy to find the perfect one. You do sacrifice your tyre warm up and potentially even your lap. We’ve seen quite a few times that it gets so messy that people don’t even manage to set a laptime, so my first priority is to have a clean lap and clean session. But if there’s a car in front of me then that’s going to give me some free laptime.

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“I really enjoy the track, it’s quite old school and has quite a specific approach needed. All of the corners are quite unique especially with an old track surface there’s a lot of bumps, which makes it quite difficult. It’s super fun to drive at with low downforce, the car is moving around a bit more which is always more interesting, and the racing is always some of the best of the year because of the long straights and low downforce, we have a lot of overtaking opportunities.”

For the Briton, it is the penultimate round in what has been a largely successful rookie F2 campaign. Though he has already captured three wins so far in 2023, the opportunity to score a memorable victory at Monza is more than enough motivation to get back to winning ways.

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With his focus turned to both the Sprint and Feature Races, Bearman says that he plans to be on the front foot where possible, believing that the best way to go is full attack mode.

“I think for starters the best method of defence is attacking, so that’s the goal. I want to start up front so hopefully I won’t have to attack that much but it’s a race where tyre degradation is low so you’re pushing for the entire race. With the DRS and slipstream, you can still stay quite close and pressure the guy ahead even if you’re not as fast so you just have to be really strong and attack in the right moments. The big braking zones at Turn 1 and Turn 4 spring to mind but with enough pace, anywhere is an overtaking opportunity so you just have to keep your eyes peeled.

“We just need to score the points we deserved to in Zandvoort with the pace that we had and probably that we deserved to in Spa too. It’s been a bit of a downturn these past couple of weekends, so I just want to finish on a high before Abu Dhabi.”