Reigning Formula 3 Champion Gabriel Bortoleto has joined the McLaren Driver Development Programme the team has confirmed.

Driving for Trident in 2023 in his rookie campaign, Bortoleto starred throughout with unmatched consistency en route to winning the FIA F3 Drivers’ Championship.

Taking two Feature Race wins to open the season, he added a further four podium finishes in the remaining rounds to comfortably clinch the Championship at the final round in Monza. He also became the first Brazilian driver to win the F3 title in the process.

Bortoleto joins the F1 outfit’s junior team that’s headed up by ex-McLaren F1 test driver and five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Emanuele Pirro, who said that Bortoleto’s path to the F3 title had been very impressive.

“I’m pleased to welcome Gabriel to the McLaren Driver Development programme,” Pirro said. “I’ve known him well since the beginning of his motorsport career and he’s got all that is needed on and off track to be a star. He also fits very well with our team culture at McLaren. I look forward to working with Gabriel and helping him develop in his motorsport career.”

Bortoleto added that he had already been to the McLaren Technology Centre to get acquainted with the team and was looking forward to his journey with them heading into next season.

“I’m excited to be joining the McLaren Driver Development programme. I’m grateful to McLaren and Emanuele for giving me this opportunity.

“I’ve already been in the MTC for a tour and to meet the team, which was a really nice experience. I’m looking forward to continuing working on my development alongside a great team.”