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FormulaNerds spoke to Oliver Bearman of PREMA ahead of the second round of the F2 2023 season at the Jeddah Cornishe street circuit. Speaking to FormulaNerds and other media, Bearman outlined his approach to his second F2 race and some of the challenges he feels he’ll face.
In 2022, Oliver Bearman raced in FIA Formula 3 with PREMA Racing. The British driver was in the title fight but finished the season in third, only seven points behind the champion.
Now for the 2023 motorsport season, Bearman has graduated to Formula 2. For this season, he remains with PREMA and partners Frederick Vesti, who was with ART Grand Prix last year.
In Formula 2’s first round in Bahrain, Bearman had some difficulties. He finished the Sprint Race in 15th and moved up one place in the Feature Race on the Sunday. As of now after one round, Bearman sits 19th in the Driver Standings.
During round one, Bearman and PREMA suffered from some tyre degradation, due to the abrasiveness of the circuit. When asked in the Virtual Media Roundtable, Bearman expressed that he believes that was a “one-off thing”. He is confident that both he and the team “can make steps” and he has no doubt that “it’ll be fine for the rest of the year.”
“No margin for error”
This weekend Formula 2 are running the medium-compound tyres and the super-softs. For Bearman, not only is it a new compound with the super-softs, but it is a new track.
The PREMA driver spoke to FormulaNerds about his preparation for the weekend and the challenges of the street circuit. Speaking to FormulaNerds, Bearman noted that this would be his “first time racing at Jeddah” and his “first time on a street track.” Because of this, Bearman said he’s “really looking forward” to the racing this weekend. He continued:
“Jeddah is kind of one of the tracks I saw in the past as being one of the most interesting and most enjoyable. So I’m really looking forward to getting started.
“The preparation, it’s not really any different to a normal race weekend. But I think the mindset, how you approach the weekend is a bit different to a permanent racetrack. There’s a bit less run-off so you have to build up and not make any mistakes in free practice.”
Bearman elaborated on the challenges of the Jeddah Corniche street circuit. He told FormulaNerds: “It’s quite a fast track. There are a lot of corners but a lot of them are actually flat-out, so there are actually not a lot of corners. But the majority of the corners are high-speed.” Bearman added:
“It’s one of the highest average speeds across the calendar. Being a street track, it makes life a bit difficult, like I said on a street track, there’s no margin for error.
“You just need to build up, get the confidence, especially in those high-speed corners. But I’m looking forward to it.”
“On the limit”
Last year, throughout the F2 Qualifying in Jeddah there were many red flags that disrupted the session. In the Virtual Media Roundtable, Bearman spoke on these and what needs to happen tomorrow to have a good result.
The young driver said: “Of course, there were a lot of red flags in the past in FP and Quali. Especially in qualifying you need to make sure every lap counts.
“Even from the first lap you have to be there because it could be that you get your other laps with traffic or again with a red flag.
“You need to make sure every lap is on the limit, which is another difficulty of a track like this where the red flag chances are quite high. But it should be interesting.”
Bearman also spoke about the temperatures this weekend and the affect they’ll have on performance. The Ferrari Academy driver said “track temperature is obviously going to be really high.
“Luckily, qualifying is at night, or during sunset, as is the sprint race, which is a little bit cooler also for the drivers. But the feature race is at midday, so maximum track temperature.
“I think it’s going to be slightly easier than Bahrain because the track surface is a bit smoother, so a bit less thermal degradation…It’ll be difficult and tough to manage.”
This weekend is only round two of the 2023 F2 season. There are 12 more rounds after Saudi Arabia. PREMA Racing currently have zero points after a tough Bahrain weekend. Will Bearman and his teammate Vesti be able to improve this weekend?
Headline Feature Image: GettyImages