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Catching up with Formula One: Australia

Written by Sofia Costantino, Edited by Sean McKean

More than a century ago, Lieutenant Thomas E. Lawrence was sent to the Middle East to help Arab tribes fight the Turks during World War I in 1916. 

The character became a legend, not only for his military successes in the Arab revolt over the Ottoman Empire, but also for his amalgamation with the life and customs of the desert. 

In 1962 its story was brought to the cinema under the title ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, considered one of the best films of all time, played by award-winning actors such as Peter O’toole, Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, among others.

A few days ago, another Briton – instead of fighting a war on a camel – achieved fame in the Arabian Peninsula with his performance aboard a Ferrari, competing in the Saudi Arabian Formula One Grand Prix.

Image credits: Motorsport Images

Oliver Bearman, just 18 years old, reserve driver for Ferrari and HAAS and member of the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA), was called to replace Carlos Sainz, who had to undergo surgery for an appendectomy. 

Leaving the F2 race, for which he had achieved the leading position on the grid at the Jeddah circuit, the Englishman was only able to complete 22 laps in FP3, before finishing eleventh on the Formula One grid, just 36 thousandths behind Lewis Hamilton and Q3, finishing the race with an outstanding seventh place on a difficult urban track for  his F1 debut.

Awarded as the Driver of the Day by fans, Bearman became the youngest Briton debutant in Formula One history and also to debut with Ferrari, surpassing Mexican Ricardo Rodríguez, who did so in 1961 at the age of 19, who reached the front row of the Italian GP at Monza alongside Poleman Wolfgang von Trips.

Image credits: Motorsport Images

Without mistakes and major problems, learning on the go how to handle the charge and use the batteries to achieve extra power of the hybrid engine, Bearman proved to have great talent and that the drivers of the lower categories (especially F2 and F3, as also shown by the New Zealander Liam Lawson by Daniel Ricciardo last season) are more than qualified to race in the premier category, where a generational change is needed and not insist on the preference for veterans – because they know better to take care of expensive single-seaters..

Without a doubt, Bearman was the best of the 2024 F1 season, because with ‘autopilot’ Max Verstappen and the RB20 achieved again a comfortable 1-2 as in Bahrain, finishing Sergio Pérez 13 seconds behind first place – added with a five-second penalty for unsafe exit of his pit stop. 

Charles Leclerc the best of the rest, 19 seconds behind the Dutchman, undeniably Ferrari showing – with two podiums in two races – that it is the second force behind Red Bull by Adrian Newey, with its innovative design, once again a step ahead of the rest.

Photo credits: Motorsport Images

Off the beaten track, the novel saga of the intrigues at Red Bull continues to unfold, largely by a power struggle that has divided the mephitic environment with grand traps, backstabbing and intrigue, which the energy drink's new CEO Oliver Mintzlaff desperately tries to fix with a strong dose of diplomacy, before the stalemate enters a final phase of implosion. 

Will this be the way to finally stop Red Bull and Max Verstappen? For the time being, they appear to be immune to the supposedly serious internal problems. 

Image credits: Motorsport Images


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