Bearman explains F1 race number choice, reveals “amazing” Hamilton video

Newly signed Haas driver Oliver Bearman has explained his Formula 1 race number choice, after also revealing the story of a video message Lewis Hamilton sent him as a kid.

Bearman’s 2025 contract with Haas was announced on Thursday, ahead of his home British Grand Prix, and will see him make his step up to a full-time F1 seat following a one-off appearance in Saudi Arabia for Ferrari.

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One of the key choices a new F1 driver has to make is picking a permanent race number – with Bearman having temporarily taken #38 when he stood in for Sainz at Jeddah.

For next year, Bearman will use the #87, a number he has raced with throughout his career and holds special significance for his family.

“I am going to use 87, that’s confirmed,” he explained. “I didn’t get to choose my number in Jeddah. And first of all, even if I did, that was the last of my worries!

“It [#87] is the number that I raced since the beginning and it’s the number that my dad raced with – because I’m born on the eighth of May, and my brother on the seventh of August.

“So, 87 is the number of choice, and that will continue to be the case.”

Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

While Bearman has been tipped for the Haas drive for a while, he said he only got the final nod after last weekend’s Austrian GP.

“Honestly, until it was finally confirmed after the Red Bull Ring on Sunday, because in F1 until you put a pen on a piece of paper, it’s not really official,” he said.

“I knew that it was what we were working towards, and that we were pretty much getting there for a while. But you can never celebrate too soon, because F1 is a fast-moving world, and you’re only as good as your last race.

“I was, of course, relieved when it finally came about, and I shared that moment with my manager, who’s been with me all the way, and that was quite an emotional moment.”

Bearman also said that reflections of the journey he has made to get to F1 prompted him to rewatch a video that Hamilton sent him almost a decade ago.

Asked about racing Hamilton next year, Bearman said: “It’s crazy. And actually, I was looking back, and I received a video from him in like, 2015, or 16, saying ‘keep pushing, hopefully you can make it to F1 one day’. And here I am.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, Oliver Bearman, Scuderia Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, Oliver Bearman, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

“It’s crazy to share the track with these guys who I watch racing. Even Fernando [Alonso]it’s something pretty special, and it’s a pinch-yourself moment, because these guys are, in my eyes, huge stars and someone that I look up to. And it’s quite amazing that I’ll share the circuit with them.”

Bearman said the video from Hamilton had come about through a friend of his family.

“I think he [Hamilton] met one of my mum’s friends or something like this, and she got him to make a video. It was like the most amazing day of my life. And then I just actually got reminded of it yesterday, I saw the video again, and it was a funny moment.”

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