Catching up with Ollie Bearman

Catching up with Ollie Bearman

Edited by Dariana Almeyda


In Bahrain on the eve of the F2 season opener, we caught up with British driver and fan-favourite, Ollie Bearman. We chatted about his journey into racing, his success in 2022 and how he is feeling ahead of his rookie season.


PF: Hey Ollie, how are you? 

OB: Yeah I’m good thanks, it's been a long winter break, too long probably but it's good to get back into the swing of things and I’m looking forward to getting into the first round this weekend. 


PF: It's a new year in a new series, how are you feeling ahead of your F2 rookie season? 

OB: It’s going to be a great season, I’m really looking forward to getting started. F2 is a competitive championship so I'm looking forward to improving my level and just really keen to get into the car, it’s going to be fun!


PF: What’s your story, how did you get into racing?  

OB: So racing came from my dad's side of the family. My grandfather raced, my dad raced, and even my uncle, not at such a high level but that got me interested. I remember going to a couple of their races as a kid and kind of getting the love for it. The smell of the rubber and everything, it's a good smell. Haha. Yeah, then I think for my 5th birthday I went to the kart track for the first time, after that Santa brought me a kart and now I find myself here.


PF: That's pretty sick, are your family stoked that this is the path you’ve gone down?

OB: Yeah I mean especially my dad’s side. We’re all petrolheads and love cars! Even before I was driving I could name literally every car on the road, which is pretty cool. Umm, my mum, at the start she was a bit scared, she was really protective of me. You know, it's quite a dangerous sport, well it looks quite dangerous, especially for her. I remember I had a big crash at the start so she was a bit scared. But more recently she’s opened up to it, she’s all over it now.


PF: What has been a career highlight so far? 

OB: Of course in 2021 I won both F4 championships in Italy and Germany, but I think coming third in F3 was a great achievement for me, I was quite happy with that. I think I was an outsider for the championship, halfway through the season I wasn't even thinking that I would get anywhere near to the title. And then, you know, I ended up seven points away, so it was a really good second half of the year. 

PF: Racing allows us to travel a lot; what’s your favourite place you’ve been to so far?

OB: I mean in F3 we did Bahrain and then the rest was Europe so I have kind of already been to most tracks. But this year I'm really looking forward to Monaco, that will be cool. But also Australia, I’ve never been down under, so looking forward to that! It's a long flight but it will be worth it. 


PF: Yeah we’re excited for Australia!

OB: It will be cool…


PF: Which track are you most excited to race this season?

OB: Silverstone of course, home race! Had a good weekend there last year, I was on the podium so that was really nice. Also Monza in front of the Italian (home) fans. So I basically have two home races which is great – actually three if we count Imola! So really that's cool. And then of course Monaco, Australia and also Jeddah. Jeddah looks like a cool track. 


PF: Do you have any pre-race rituals, are you listening to music or doing anything specific to get in the zone?

OB: So I always do the same warm up, and on the mental side that repetition helps me to feel a bit more at ease when I get in the car. I sometimes listen to music but not enough. I'm starting to do that more as it allows me to really get in the zone. It's quite a loud environment in those final moments before lights out, so to put the headphones in and calm down a bit is a good thing, I should do it more often. Once I’m in the car though I’m pretty good at getting my head down and zoning in.


PF: Who are the drivers or athletes that inspire you, and why? 

OB: I would say Lewis Hamilton, although he’s been dominating the sport and maybe even made it a little boring at one stage. Even when he’s winning with a lot of margin he’s working harder than anyone else. I find his work ethic is really inspiring. And away from racing I would say someone like Lionel Messi. Watching him win the world cup recently was really cool. I think the work ethic of some of the older guys, still working harder than most people on the grid or football pitch is cool to see, and something that inspires me. 


PF: So I’ve written down do you have any passions outside of racing? But I also want to know what you would be doing if you weren’t a racing driver.

OB: I don’t have many passions to be honest, so that's a bit boring haha. And I think if I wasn’t racing, because I’m only 17 I would probably still be in school. I see my friends from school sometimes, they’re all about to do their A-Levels so they’re all a bit stressed right now. I am happy I'm not doing that! I was planning to study German, Maths, English and one more but I can’t remember what…


PF: So you just stopped studying after GCSE?

OB: Yeah so after GCSE I stopped, I was quite lucky to be honest because GCSE was quite easy but it starts to get tough at A-Level haha.


PF: So you’re only 17, do you have a driving license?

OB: Yeah recently I passed, October I think! I was almost driving an F2 car on track before I could officially drive on the road. But I still can't drive in Europe yet, you need to be 18 for that so not long to go, a couple months!


PF: What’s something on your bucket list?

OB: I would say skydiving, but I don’t think Ferrari would approve haha. I think top of my bucket list is of course to win the world championship in F1. That's my life goal. But away from serious work-related stuff, I would say some cool adrenaline stuff like skydiving or parachuting or something crazy! Maybe after F1, I’ll do all those things!


PF: And finally whats the best piece of advice you have ever received?

OB: That's a tough one, I get a lot of advice, I guess the best piece of advice I've received is to keep it simple. I tend to overcomplicate things, especially in racing and can get into a bit of a downward spiral, so for me, it's better to keep it simple and keep my focus broad instead of overthinking the small things. That's how I'm approaching this year in F2. I’ve spent this winter not thinking about racing, whereas the year before in F3 I was thinking about everything, it was constantly on my mind, which I don’t think is the right approach. It gets you in the wrong mindset, I think it's just important to have a good balance! 


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