ESSEX-RAISED driver Oliver Bearman said he is ‘immensely proud’ to become a full-time Formula 1 driver with Haas for 2025, after signing a contract with the American team, writes BEN MCCARTHY.

Ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where Bearman is competing in the latest round of the Formula 2 season, the 19-year-old told “It’s hard to put into words just how much this means to me.

"To say out loud that I will be a Formula 1 driver for MoneyGram Haas F1 Team makes me so immensely proud.

“To be one of the very few people who get to do the thing what they dreamed of as a child is something truly incredible.

"To Gene [Haas, team owner], Ayao [Komatsu, team principal] and everyone at Haas, thank you for believing in me and for trusting me to represent your team.”

Bearman has already raced in Formula 1, when he deputised for Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

That day, he finished in seventh place to become the youngest Brit to ever score world championship points in the sport’s history.

Besides his highly rated drive at Saudi Arabia, Bearman has also competed in many practice sessions for the Haas team in the last twelve months.

Speculation started to mount last Autumn, that the American team were supremely impressed with the Essex star after the team’s-now team principal, Ayao Komatsu, claimed to Autosport that he “didn’t put a foot wrong” in his first practice outing for the team at the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix.

Komatsu also said to in today’s announcement: “It’s an exciting thing to be able to give a young driver as talented as Oliver Bearman his first full-time seat in Formula 1.

“He’s developed into an incredibly mature driver under the guidance of the Scuderia Ferrari Drover Academy and the world saw that for themselves when he was called in at the last minute to compete at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

"Oliver proved he was more than ready for the task, and we’ve seen that for ourselves running him in the Haas cars in our FP1 sessions over the past two seasons.”

Bearman’s first race for the Haas Formula 1 team is set to take place on the weekend of March 14-16, next year, at the 2025 Australian Grand Prix.