The first driver to be confirmed for the 2023 FIA Formula 3 grid, Gabriel Bortoleto arrives in the Championship with plenty of prior success. Three years in single seaters following an impressive final year of karting that included a top three finish in the CIK-FIA Karting OKJ World Championship, he has high expectations for 2023.
The 18-year-old says he is keeping a calm outlook on the year ahead, surmising that with Trident’s track record in F3 and the performances he put in during the ’22 FRECA campaign give him a solid place to begin the year from.
His goals are not as simple as ‘win, win, win,’ rather he is focused on maximising his equipment and working on the areas he and the team feel can be improved. It’s through hard work that Bortoleto expects to make progress and achieve success.
“I feel confident, and I’m just focused on myself to keep learning as always. I know that the team is good, they’ve showed this in the past and I know how hard they're working. I know that the car will be great and if I do my job as well, the result will be a consequence of all this hard work of everyone. I think after the season that I did last year and after what they did as well, I am expecting good things from our partnership.
“My target is to keep learning and do the best as I can. For sure, everyone wants to win and has the same target, but I'm not putting it on my mind ‘I need to win, I need to win I need to win,’ because winning is a consequence of hard work. I need to keep working to get better and I know that if I do this, the wins and podiums will come.”
Last year, the 18-year-old finished sixth in Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, taking five podiums and two race victories en route. That campaign proved crucial to his signing and racing with Trident this year, a prospect he is very much looking forward to.
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“I knew I needed to do a very good job in FRECA to sign with one of the best teams in FIA F3. They finished on top last year winning the last three Feature Races, were always on the podium, so for me it was very important to also make a good job last year to sign with them. So now we are working very hard to see how we can what we can do in this season in my rookie season.”
There is already a positive feeling for Bortoleto in his limited time with the Trident team already. The Brazilian says he moved to Milan in order to be based closer to the factory, and the team building process throughout the winter has been a big success already.
Building the rapport with the engineers and mechanics has been a conscious effort and an approach that Bortoleto hopes will pay off this year.
“I'm living in Milan now, just 20 minutes from the team. I already knew that I was signed around November probably and I immediately started looking at some places in Milan. Being near Trident was just the final point to convince myself to move because staying close with the team is very important for me.
“I think I spend 80% of my time at Trident at the moment. I’ve done quite a lot of sim work with them. I think we have a very good relationship already. I'm very excited to the season start and I'm enjoying working with them this winter.
READ MORE: Trident: This year was stronger than our title-winning season of 2021
“By being at the team I’m learning new stuff and working on myself to be better every day. I hope it will pay off, but I think the work that we're doing now - it's very important for our season that we start well and on the right foot.”
The working relationship began back in September, 2022 when Bortoleto took part in post-season testing with Trident following the end of the season. He wasted no time getting up to speed with his F3 team, setting the fastest lap of the three-day test early on.
Over the course of the Jerez test, the Brazilian achieved a grand total of 202 laps, vital experience for the 2023 rookie. Setting purple sectors and headline times wasn’t the target for team or driver though as Bortoleto explains.
“I think testing was very good. I think on the first day, at the beginning of the day at least, I was not feeling 100% with the car. I would say feeling in the seat and on the pedals, stuff like this, it wasn’t quite right. We were not doing so many laps but I knew that the potential was there and I was just working myself to get comfortable in the car, making some adjustments.
“As soon as we made the adjustments in the afternoon, we were already on the pace. I think we were already top five or something like this, but we knew that we could have been even better. On day two in the morning I did a very good lap when I put myself P1, by four-tenths from P2 at that point. That lap time was the quickest of the three days. I’m not focused on the lap times though, that’s not the important thing.
“Already on the first day, I felt very good with the team. I improved myself and I learned so much in three days of testing that I didn't learn for half a year I felt very good with the team and comfortable right away, like a family I would say.”