18-Year-Old Super Talent Bearman Reflects On Being 'Thrown Around' In His First F1 Race

Wednesday, 20 March 2024 at 12:00
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Ollie Bearman described how he got "thrown around" during his debut F1 race at Jeddah Coriche Circuit.
Oliver Bearman had the opportunity to sit in an F1 car during a few practice sessions and test days before his debut. Still, he never did an entire all-out race around the circuit in Jedah, which is one of the toughest tracks in the F1 calendar.
The 18-year-old is used to an F2 car, which should be the closest to F1. However, as he described it to The Times, the difference between the two categories is immense.

"We don't have as much downforce or G-force in F2, so the strain is much less. But we don't have power steering in F2, so the steering work is super-heavy."

"When I've finished an F2 race, my arms are usually tired, but apart from that I'm fine. In F1, the steering is very light, but it's everything else."

The lateral G-forces in F1 cars are much higher as they can carry more speed through the corners, and that applies especially to the Jeddah track, which includes many high-speed corners.

"You're just getting thrown around. Muscles you don't feel like you're engaging, they're aching the next day."

Not being used to high G-Forces, the 18-year-old couldn't hold his head straight throughout the whole race. He even dented his own headrest as his head bounced side-to-side from corner to corner.

"And it's exhausting; you lose a lot of water, I couldn't believe how sweaty I was. The race is so long. Every time you cross the finish line, the dash pops up with how many laps [there are] to go."

To put the difference between F1 and F2 into perspective, the difference between Bearman's qualifying laps in F2 and F1 was 13.575 seconds, which is a lot around the track that is 6.174 km (3.836 mi) long. He added:

"I could have sworn that number stayed frozen for a couple of laps. When I got to 25 laps, I was like, 'Wow, we're only halfway!' It was a big challenge. But I really enjoyed it."