The weather may have been miserable on Day 1 of testing in Jerez, but Olli Bearman certainly wasn’t, with the PREMA Racing driver delighted to get a “rare” full day of wet running under his belt.
The British racer topped the opening day of testing as he switched to slicks on a drying track in the final half an hour, but prior to that, had experienced a solid five-and-a-half hours of wet track time on a soggy day in Spain.
With Formula 3 set to visit the likes of Spa-Francorchamps and Spielberg this season, which have produced wet races in the recent past, Bearman believes the experience could prove invaluable.
“It was the first real day of wet driving for me in this car,” he began. “I got a few laps at Valencia in the post-season test (last year), but it was nice to get a full day in really wet conditions. We got the full range of wet conditions, from aquaplaning on the track to damp.
“I have heard it is quite rare to have a full wet day in this car when you're not at a race event. I got to understand a lot about the wet tyres, which are quite different from what I have used in the past.
“We saw at Spa last year that some teams struggled more than others in the wet. I think PREMA were one of the teams to struggle, so they were probably quite happy to get a full wet day.”
Although he was disappointed with Qualifying in Round 1, placing 10th, Bearman managed to take points in both races, finishing second in the Sprint Race – after a post-race penalty for violating track limits – and sixth in the Feature Race.
It saw the Briton depart his debut round third in the Drivers’ Championship, and although he believes he set a “good baseline” in Bahrain, the Ferrari junior added that there’s still plenty to be improved on.
“I was quite happy with my first event as a whole, but there were some things that could have gone better,” he said. “Qualifying in Bahrain was quite weak for me, so that is something that I am looking to work on.
“I also went backwards a bit at the start of the second race and put myself in the wrong position a few times, but I don't think it is anything crazy that needs improving on – it is more of a mindset change, which can be addressed easily.
“The positive for us was the race pace - in both races I had a really strong pace. Bahrain is quite a high deg track as well, so that is promising. Our quali needs a bit of improvement, but for a first weekend, I think I set a good baseline for myself for the next eight.”