It was a season of what might have been for Gabriele Minì in 2023. The Italian driver was a huge factor early in the season, pressuring eventual Champion Gabriel Bortoleto in the points but, as the season unfolded, his title bid unravelled.

An eventual seventh place finish isn’t where the Alpine Academy driver should have been contending, but a new season brings new hopes. Minì moves back to PREMA Racing for 2024, the same team he claimed his most recent title, winning Italian F4 in 2020.

It’s a switch that he hopes will propel him to title glory, with his arrival at the reigning Teams’ Champions a huge boost to his prospects going into the new campaign. Alongside the returning Dino Beganovic and new arrival Arvid Lindblad, PREMA’s lineup looks formidable.

“I think it’s something really exciting,” Minì said after the team’s lineup was confirmed. “We know that the team is quick, they were quick in 2023, they’ve been quick in ’22, ’21, they’ve always been quick in Formula 3 in the past, always very competitive which is of course really good.

“We have been together before, back in F4 where we won the Championship together. Their way of working is really good. They’re probably the best school you can have with so much data and information. It’s always good to have more data so that along with very strong teammates like Dino and Arvid, for me as a driver, it’s good so that I can improve as a driver.”

Minì was quick throughout pre-season testing as he got back up to speed with PREMA
Minì was quick throughout pre-season testing as he got back up to speed with PREMA

While last season didn’t pan out how he’d hoped with Hitech Pulse-Eight, Minì says that his campaign was ultimately undone by his and the team’s shortcomings in maximising their speed.

Almost always quick no matter the type of circuit, Minì was a victor just twice across the 2023 campaign despite the potential to add to that tally on several occasions last year.

Not only is his return to PREMA a source of confidence, but it also has the added advantage that only familiarity can bring. For instance, Minì says he is working with the same race engineer he had back in 2020 when he claimed his F4 title with the team.

READ MORE: PREMA Racing season review: Champions once again but title double the aim for 2024

“To be honest, last season the speed was good almost everywhere. It’s not only driver dependent every time, but my objective is always to do the best I can. What I want to try to do is maximise every lap I do, especially in Qualifying. Anything I miss, like last year in Barcelona for example which cost me a lot of positions, if you want to win a Championship, you can’t afford those kinds of mistakes. Maybe you can get away with one but it’s better if you don’t.

“When I was with Hitech, we were like a family already because we spent a year together and worked in Formula Regional Asia, but with PREMA, it’s coming back to where I’ve already been. For example, my engineer is the one I worked with back in Formula 4 so it’s always good to come back to the first year of my single seater career which brings me great memories since it went really well.”

Expectations are high ahead of what will be Minìs second F3 campaign
Expectations are high ahead of what will be Minì's second F3 campaign

As one of the returning drivers from 2023, the Alpine Academy talent knows that there is greater pressure on him to perform this time around. While that might bring a little more attention versus last year, it’s something he has already come to terms with.

In fact, the spotlight only reflects his internal expectations as he aims to become the first Italian to be crowned FIA Formula 3 Drivers’ Champion.

With PREMA Racing helping Robert Shwartzman, Oscar Piastri and Dennis Hauger to the F3 crown since 2019, the Italian knows that he’s in the right place to make that a reality.

“In the end, those are the things I’ll be working on. Pace-wise I don’t think we’ll be bad. Race pace was pretty decent in testing, I just have to maximise every time I get into the car.

“The goal – especially with it being my second year so even moreso than the first, to prove that I can be quick and try to fight for the title. This year we have to fight even more, and we know that already. We will do our best and hope for the best also.”