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Ollie Bearman endures torrid F2 return after dream Ferrari debut

Ollie Bearman endured a difficult return to Formula 2 following his dream Ferrari debut – after he was hit with a post-race penalty in Australia on Saturday.

The 18-year-old from Chelmsford in Essex was the talk of the F1 paddock a fortnight ago when he deputised for Carlos Sainz in Saudi Arabia, driving impressively to seventh and six points on debut.

Yet with Sainz fit enough to take part this weekend in Melbourne, it was back to normal duties for the Briton, racing for Prema in his second season in F2.

In Saturday’s sprint race, Bearman progressed to finish eighth after starting 16th on the grid. Yet after the chequered flag, the 18-year-old received a 10-second time penalty for forcing Joshua Durksen off the track during an incident at turn four which sent Durksen off into the gravel.

It means Bearman does not claim his first F2 points of the season, with the penalty dropping him from eighth to 14th.

The Ferrari reserve also receives two penalty points on his superlicence.

Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar, who crossed the line in first, was also penalised post-race and lost his sprint race victory, instead finishing sixth after being blamed for a crash at the start.

Bearman admitted last week that his performances in F2 will decide whether he lands a seat in F1 next year. Haas, who use Ferrari engines, appears the most likely destination for a seat.

Ollie Bearman was penalised after Saturday’s F2 sprint race in Australia (Getty Images)
Ollie Bearman was penalised after Saturday’s F2 sprint race in Australia (Getty Images)

“Getting a taste of this amazing world, I know what I’m missing out on up there in F1,” Bearman told BBC East.

Asked if he could make the step up to F1 in 2025, he replied: “I think so. It depends how I get on.

“That’s a childhood dream that I would love to realise. I need to keep pushing in F2 to make sure that I can get that F1 seat – that’s my main goal for this year.

“I need to keep up the good work and not let any of this faze me because you’re only as good as your last race.”