Ayao Komatsu hints at 2025 F1 driver choice alongside incoming rookie Oliver Bearman

Haas made Formula 1 news earlier this week, announcing on Thursday ahead of the British Grand Prix that young Oliver Bearman would be one of their two drivers for the 2025 F1 season.

That move made many wonder if Haas would aim to sign a more experienced driver for the spot alongside Bearman. Team Principal Ayao Komatsu admitted during Friday’s FIA Press Conference that this is the plan.

“Yeah, of course, especially for a team like us, we cannot have two rookies,” said Komatsu on Friday when asked if the Bearman promotion would influence Haas’ decision regarding their second seat. “So now that we’ve taken Ollie as a rookie, we will try to appoint somebody who’s got decent F1 experience.”

Addressing the decision to promote Bearman to a full-time F1 seat, Komatsu called the young driver a “perfect match” for Haas.

We are still pretty much a growing team. We are a relatively new team. And then we are restarting, let’s say, and improving our performance. And Ollie, obviously, is a very talented young driver with a very strong head on his shoulders,” said Komatsu. “And he’s very calm, but mature, got the speed, and very much a team player. So the things how we want to progress as a team, that’s what I mean by a very perfect match.”

The Haas team boss praised Bearman’s approach during the limited practice action he has seen at Haas as part of his reserve duties with the team, including his FP1 debut a year ago.

“[T]hat’s what was impressive before when we first put him in the car in Mexico, you know, very first time in a Formula 1 car, FP1 session. Of course, he was excited,” described Komatsu. “But then again, he understood the objective of the team what this session means to the team, what we need to achieve. And then, of course, he’s trying to drive as fast as possible. But within that bigger picture, he understands always the context very, very well.

“So that’s what was impressive before. And then, of course, you know, it’s not something he needed to change today. Of course, he was, I’m sure, very happy to drive in front of his home crowd after the announcement. So he was enjoying it. But fundamentally, the approach was exactly the same.”

Bearman made a stunning F1 debut earlier this season, finishing seventh in place of an ailing Carlos Sainz Jr. at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The young driver had only one hour of practice time ahead of qualifying at Jeddah Corniche Circuit and impressed the entire paddock by advancing to Q2 and qualifying 11th.

In the main event, Bearman held off Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton down the stretch, despite the veteran drivers pursuing him with fresher tires. It was a performance that turned heads throughout the sport and paved the way to a full-time seat.

While we still await news on who his teammate might be, we now know a bit more about the future at Haas, and how a veteran will be beside the rookie next season.

Will it be Kevin Magnussen returning to Haas? Or one of the other drivers looking for a seat, such as Esteban Ocon — who has been linked with Haas in recent weeks — or another driver such as Valtteri Bottas?

We should know more soon.

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