FIA Formula 3: Gabriel Bortoleto, you are the 2023 FIA Formula 3 Champion. How does that sound?

Gabriel Bortoleto: It’s an amazing feeling. For sure, I haven’t realised how big this is yet, I think I won’t realise it for something like a week. It’s already a dream coming true for me, especially in a rookie season, it’s very, very special.

FIA Formula 3: You’ve worked so hard for this, what does this title mean to you?

Bortoleto: It’s a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work, a lot of trust from everyone around me that they put in me. There’s a lot of stuff involved for a title. I would say before the season, I had some good results, but never a Champion in FRECA or wherever, so also for Trident to trust me, giving me the seat this season and pushing to make me, let's say, a Champion. It was very impressive and something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. A lot of people are involved in this, my coach, management, a lot of people and I can't thank everyone enough.

FIA Formula 3: You are delighted I can see that, but coming into this season, did you think you could win the crown at your first attempt in what is such a competitive and tough Championship?

Bortoleto: After our test in Jerez, I led the first test I did in Formula 3. So after that and also Bahrain, I knew that we could have been competitive, but I will be honest, I never thought in my mind that we would have won the Championship in Monza, arriving at the last round 38 points ahead of P2. So, I would say I didn't think that, I was sure that we could have been competitive and finish in the top five, top three. In a rookie season, that's very good because at the end of the day, (Oscar) Piastri and (Robert) Shwartzman were the only ones to win in their rookie season in Formula 3. It's amazing and a lot of adrenaline, I'm still recovering from all the feelings.

FIA Formula 3: Once you took the lead in the Championship, you never lost it. So, at what point in the season did you think I could win this?

Bortoleto: I would say after Silverstone. It was not one of my best races that weekend. I did a very good Sprint Race where I finished P2, but then my Feature Race was not so good, I finished P6. But still, I went out of that round, I think around 30-something points ahead. In that moment there were just three rounds left and I was like okay, if I do my job and I don't make any crazy mistakes, we can easily go to Monza already with the title or fighting for it in the last round. So, I think that's what happened. We didn't manage to win in Spa, but here we are after Qualifying in Monza.

FIA Formula 3: Tell us a little bit more about Spa because you could have won the title there, but you ended up point-less at that meeting and that hadn't happened to you prior to that in the season. How frustrating was it?

Bortoleto: It was very frustrating, especially because Trident had won there in the last four years. So, I also put a little bit of pressure on myself to do a good job in Spa because it's a track that Trident has always dominated. The conditions were not easy and I did a mistake on my Qualifying lap, where in those conditions where the track is drying up, if you don't improve on your last lap, you are going to end up very bad in Quali and that's what happened to me. I finished P15 in Quali and it was not a great result at all for me, but then in the races I was fast. I managed to recover, but then I got hit in the first race and in the second race, we chose I would say the wrong tyres. Still, I managed to recover a lot and almost arrived in the lead of the guys who were on the slick tyres, but it was not enough on the last lap to overtake (Franco) Colapinto and secure the title there. So I needed to stay a month in Brazil, because I went back to Brazil, 38 points ahead, but I couldn't say I was a Champion yet. It was very tough.

FIA Formula 3: Gabriel, you're part of A14 Management meaning that Fernando Alonso is involved in your career. Just how key has Fernando been to everything you've done?

Bortoleto: Fernando is a Formula 1 legend and not only in Formula 1. He has driven in a lot of categories and won in all of them. He's not just my manager but also an idol for me because since I was very young, Fernando has been the guy who was winning races in my dream category which is Formula 1. Now having him as my manager and giving me some tips, especially before Bahrain and Melbourne, even Monaco, it was something very special to me. For sure, he has been a big part of what I've done this season because there were moments when I, leading the Championship after Melbourne and I'd won my second Feature Race in a row, I remember he sent me a voice message of almost 10 minutes on WhatsApp. He told me a lot of great stuff, but he kept in my mind that I could have won other races in the year and the moment that I started to struggle because at some point probably I would struggle in the season or not be winning, but in the top five. I needed to accept that and get the points that I needed and I think that was my mindset the whole season because it came directly from him and when a guy like Fernando tells you something, I think you better listen. So I think it was very special.

FIA Formula 3: Have you caught up with him since winning the title?

Bortoleto: No, I didn't. It has been very busy for me after Qualifying, but for sure, I want to go see him and talk to him, just to thank him for all the help he has given me this season.

FIA Formula 3: Now Gabriel, two wins, one pole, five podiums and two fastest laps so far this year. You qualified fifth today for the final round of the season, how do you want to end the season here in Monza.

Bortoleto: I want to win, more than ever to be honest. It's not because I won the Championship that I'm relaxed right now. I'm not, I'm fully focused on tomorrow and Sunday. I want to finish the year like I started, winning the Feature Race. Qualifying was not the best of my Qualifyings, but that's it, sometimes you cannot put it in the top three but I still managed to secure a top five and it's good enough to race in Monza. Even to win, who knows.

FIA Formula 3: Final one from me Gabriel, can we get a word from you on your team Trident who are in the fight for the Teams' Championship as well. Tell us about the relationship you've built up with them and what they've done for you this year.

Bortoleto: We started working very, very early in the season, very late in last season. So after Zandvoort, I already went to the race in Zandvoort to be with Trident and to see how they work and they received me very, very well there. I've seen how they work and how they treat the engineers there. They work like one, I think if you take one of them out of the team, the team will not perform the same. That's my opinion because Trident is a family and it's not just something professional. You can feel that it's a family, you can feel that everyone is all one piece. As I told you before, Giacomo (Ricci), he trusted me. Not only him but a lot of people involved, my engineer, Maurizio, all the people that work in Trident at the end of the day. Everyone, every single one, Alexia, who is there behind you. It's very special and I can't thank them enough. It has been the most dedicated team I've ever seen in my life and the most patient team as well at the same time. They would give everything to win the title and win the Teams' title again on Sunday, I'm sure about it.