The most race wins, the most pole positions, the most fastest laps. Oliver Bearman (16, Great Britain) was the dominant force in the 2022 ADAC Formula 4 season. In a thrilling finale, the young Brit in the Van Amersfoort car emerged triumphant against his closest rival, Tim Tramnitz (17, Hamburg). The next step in his career is predestined, as Bearman recently became a member of the Ferrari Driving Academy.
It is just a few weeks since the final round of the ADAC Formula 4 season at the Nürburgring. Has your success sunk in yet?
Oliver Bearman: “It was a really intensive season. During the last couple of weeks, when things have calmed down a little, I feel like I’ve had the chance to look back on the season and enjoy the astonishing things that Van Amersfoort Racing and I achieved this year. It was a really hard-fought championship and I am absolutely delighted to have won the title!”
The pandemic is obviously affecting all of us, have you actually been able to celebrate your title win?
OB: “I was able to celebrate at home in Great Britain with my family and my team. I am also in regular contact with my engineer and the VAR team. It has been a very special year, which we have tackled successfully together, so we have all really enjoyed it.”
Looking at the statistics, you were number one in every regard this season. Most pole positions, most race wins, most fastest laps. In your opinion, what was the key to this success?
OB: “Thanks for the praise! Before every event, I spent a lot of time at VAR headquarters preparing on the simulator, and studying and checking on-board data. That way, I had a really clear plan when I arrived at the circuit. That is necessary, and allowed me to focus fully on putting that plan into practice. Thanks to my excellent relationship with the team and my engineer, we were really able to do an excellent job of developing the car at every track.”
It was an exciting battle for the championship between you and Tim Tramnitz, which went right down to the final race. Does it help to have a rival who pushes you to the limit all season?
OB: “Definitely. Tim and US Racing did a fantastic job this season. They really pushed me. I am sure that all the close battles over the course of the whole year elevated both of us to a new level.”
As well as the Driver title, Van Amersfoort Racing also won the Team and Rookie competitions. Are you proud to be part of such a success story?
OB: “I am really very proud! VAR team principal Rob Niessink said that this was the best season in the history of the team, and I am so proud to have done my bit. Van Amersfoort Racing is an astonishing team with incredibly dedicated employees. Everything they have achieved this year is richly deserved.”
This was your second year in ADAC Formula 4. What have you learned during this time?
OB: “Before the start of the 2020 ADAC Formula 4 season, I had only spent a handful of days in a Formula 4 car. I learned so much in my first year, that it is hard to single out any particular points. In 2021, my goal was to be as consistent as possible all season, and to get the maximum out of every weekend, whilst never taking my eye of the big goal – the championship. Finding the balance between aggression and being prepared to take risks in the reverse grid races was something I really focussed on. I am sure that this allowed me to take a big step forward and will continue to help me throughout my entire career.”
A young Briton enjoying success in single-seater racing. It is obviously easy to make comparisons with global stars like Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and George Russell. As a young driver, does their success – particularly that of Lando and George – encourage you to follow the same path?
OB: “It is very nice to be compared to drivers like them, as they have made it to the pinnacle of Formula racing. That is also my goal. Motorsport, and Formula 1 in particular, is very popular in Great Britain. I hope one day to be able to drive alongside those guys in front of the British fans!”
Where will we see you next year, and what are your goals?
OB: “I will leave it to the Ferrari Driver Academy and my management team to decide where and with whom I go racing. Personally, I am concentrating on becoming stronger mentally and fitter physically, in order to be ready to master a faster and bigger car in 2022.”
You recently became a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy. What are you hoping for from this cooperation?
OB: “The move to Ferrari is something I am very proud of. For me, Ferrari is the most iconic team in the history of motorsport, and I am delighted to now be a part of that. So many experienced professionals work in the FDA team that I am confident that they will improve me in every area.”
Please complete this sentence: In three years, my dream is...
OB: “… to win races in Formula 1 for Scuderia Ferrari!”