Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber move could open door at Haas for Ollie Bearman

British teenager Ollie Bearman’s hopes of securing a Formula One drive next season have been dealt a major boost following confirmation of Nico Hulkenberg’s move from Haas to Sauber.

Bearman, 18, impressed as a last-minute stand-in for Carlos Sainz at last month’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and a seat at Haas – effectively Ferrari’s B team – in 2025 had been his target.

Hulkenberg’s departure, which was announced on Friday, frees up a seat, with Bearman – a Ferrari junior driver – now in pole position to take over from the German, and join Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and George Russell as the fourth British driver on the F1 grid.

Bearman, currently a reserve driver for Haas, turns 19 next month. He became the youngest British driver in F1 history with his debut in Saudi Arabia.

Bearman, who hails from Chelmsford in Essex, finished seventh ahead of both McLaren’s Norris and seven-time world champion Hamilton of Mercedes.

Hulkenberg has spent two seasons with Haas, but he will join Sauber ahead of the team being rebranded as Audi in 2026.

The 36-year-old, who finished 10th at last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, has competed in 208 races in a career spanning 14 years.

He made his debut with Williams in 2010 before competing at Force India, Renault and as a reserve driver at Aston Martin before joining Haas last year. He also drove for Sauber in 2013.

“I am thrilled and honoured to return to Sauber in 2025 and to represent the global German car manufacturer and technology pioneer Audi on its way into Formula One in the future,” said Hulkenberg.

“It is a big project with high ambitions and a huge challenge that I am very much looking forward to.”

Sauber CEO Andreas Seidl said: “We are very pleased to welcome Nico back here from 2025 and to compete with him in Formula One.

“With his speed, his experience and his commitment to teamwork, he will be an important part of the transformation of our team – and of Audi’s F1 project.

“Right from the start, there was great mutual interest in building something long-term together. Nico is a strong personality, and his input, on a professional and personal level, will help us to make progress both in the development of the car and in building up the team.”

The identity of Hulkenberg’s team-mate next year is uncertain, but Sainz, who will be replaced by Hamilton at Ferrari in 2025, is understood to have held talks with Audi about a possible switch.