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Who Is Oliver Bearman? Driver to replace Carlos Sainz for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

At the age of 16, Bearman joined Ferrari's driver academy after he won both the German and Italian Formula Four championships. (Rudy Carezzevoli / Getty Images)
At the age of 16, Bearman joined Ferrari's driver academy after he won both the German and Italian Formula Four championships. (Rudy Carezzevoli / Getty Images)

Oliver Bearman is set to replace Carlos Sainz in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, while he is treated for appendicitis.

The 18-year-old reserve driver will become the youngest Briton to race in Formula 1. Sainz had been unwell for two days, and described Thursday's practice as "one of [his] toughest days in a Formula 1 car.

"I've had a very rough last 24 hours, if I'm honest," he said.

Bearman was already in Jeddah competing in the Formula 2 championship and was set to start Saturday's F2 feature race from pole.

"Carlos Sainz has been diagnosed with appendicitis and will require surgery," Ferrari said.

"As from FP3 and for the rest of this weekend, he will be replaced by reserve driver Oliver Bearman. Oliver will therefore take no further part in this round of the F2 Championship. The Ferrari family wishes Carlos a speedy recovery."

But who is Oliver Bearman? Here's what you need to know.

Who Is Oliver Bearman?

Raised in Chelmsford, Essex, and educated at King Edward VI Grammar, Bearman started karting competitively in 2013 when he raced in the championship of the Trent Valley Kart Club.

At the age of 16, Bearman joined Ferrari's driver academy after he won both the German and Italian Formula Four championships.

He then quit school, left the family home in Chelmsford, and moved to Modena, a dozen miles north of Ferrari’s headquarters in northern Italy.

Speaking about his accent, he told PA: “Maybe I got a bit lucky not to get the Essex accent.

“A lot of people have told me my accent has changed, even if I don’t notice it. I spend a lot of time with Italians, and to communicate with people where English is not their first language is not easy, so I have changed my word order and ended up with this everywhere accent.

“When I moved to Modena, it happened pretty quickly. It was like going to university two years early, but I have loved every moment so far. My mum was very pro-school and very pro-education, but we managed to convince her in the end.

“I miss my family, my two dogs – I have an English bull terrier and a Boston terrier and they are very cute – and that is the negative side. But the food in Italy is a big chunk above the English stuff, and the weather is better, too.”

Following four victories in his Formula Two season – the feeder series to F1 – Bearman competed at the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix with Haas F1 Team. He finished 15th, and was only three-tenths off his teammate Nico Hülkenberg.

What are Oliver Bearman’s stats?

2020 ADAC Formula 4: 21 races, 1 win, 0 poles

2020 Italian Formula 4: 8 races, 1 win, 0 poles

2021 ADAC Formula 4: 18 races, 6 wins, 5 poles

2021 Italian Formula 4: 21 races, 11 wins, 8 poles

2021 GB3 Championship: 9 races, 1 win, 2 poles

2022 FIA Formula 3: 18 races, 1 win, 0 poles

2022 Formula Regional Asian Championship: 6 races, 0 wins, 0 poles

2023 FIA Formula 2: 26 races, 4 wins, 3 poles

2024 FIA Formula 2: 2 races, 0 wins, 1 pole

Is Oliver Bearman the youngest F1 driver ever?

Oliver Bearman is 18 years old. Lando Norris was previously the youngest Briton to race in F1, taking part in practice for McLaren in Belgium, in 2018, at the age of 18. On Saturday night, Bearman will surpass Norris for this record.

Max Verstappen is the youngest F! driver ever, who was 17 years 166 days old