Moving up to test the Formula 3 car for the first time during is a challenge for any young driver. Gabriel Bortoleto has been taking it in stride though, clocking in the overall fastest time across the three days of running at the Jerez post-season test.
Newly signed by Trident for the 2023 campaign following his impressive performance, the Brazilian believes he’s quickly gained an understanding of the skills needed to extract the maximum out of the car and the differences in handling between the F3 machinery and the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine car he’s currently used to.
“It was an amazing experience to try the FIA F3 car for the first time,” he said. “It's very different to everything that I’ve driven my whole life. Now I'm driving in FRECA, so it's a massive difference in terms of downforce and power.
“You need time to get used to the car and everything, but in the end, I managed to be quite quick, get used to the car and top the morning session on Day 2. I’m quite happy, the car is amazing, and I can’t wait to drive it again.”
Logging 202 laps on the board throughout testing has given Bortoleto a solid foundation of knowledge before pre-season testing gets underway next year, as he looks to build his confidence behind the wheel.
“I think learning how the tyres work is very important in this car. I needed to learn as well to trust more in the car because when you trust the car, it seems you go quicker in the corners. It’s something that I’m not used to. In the lower categories you know the limit of the downforce, but this car, I was always surprising myself every time I went out on track.
“It was massively important to get lots of laps in because at the end of the day, we don’t have many days of testing with this car. We did quite a lot of laps over the three days, both race sims and Qualifying performance runs. I think it was important to understand what I was doing wrong and what I could have done better.”
Recognising how crucial physical preparation will be heading into his rookie season, Bortoleto is looking forward to forging a strong working relationship with his Italian team over the coming months.
“Probably the gym! It’s a bit more difficult in some ways compared to the category that I’m driving in now and a bit easier in a lot of other ways as well. Also, I’ll be focusing on understanding technically how the car works because I think it’s very important to understand these things. I also need to understand a bit better about how the team works because it’s a new team for me and how we give feedback to each other so we can maximise our time."