Every driver’s helmet is a unique representation of who they are and for our 2023 Formula 3 Champion Gabriel Bortoleto, it’s all about that Brazilian pride.
Carrying his look all the way to title glory this season, the Trident driver talks us through his tribute to his family, emulating a current Formula 1 star and why he likes to switch things up every now and then.
“Starting with the main thing on my helmet, it’s the lateral sides. I’ve used this on my helmets since I was seven years old. It’s basically wings as you can see. When I was younger, the wings were proper wings and you could easily see what it meant. After I got older, I thought it looked too much like something from an animation movie, so I’ve changed it a little bit, made it a little bit more aggressive but that’s still the concept and what I target when I have my helmets.
“The helmet is made by Art INFINITY Brasil. It’s a company in Brazil that paints my helmets and the guy who designs them is a genius. When he’s painting the helmet, he sometimes changes stuff and he was the one that came up with the idea of the wings. Then on the roof, we have the Brazilian flag with another wing, but the main thing is the Brazilian flag there to show my home country.
“Representing Brazil for me is one of my biggest targets, to one day be an F1 driver using this flag. My father and people always told me before I was born that even in difficult moments, when Ayrton Senna was winning races and he brought Brazil up again. For now, I’m just in Formula 3 searching for my main goal, but I’m honoured to bring my country with me outside of Brazil and outside of Latin America - I love it!
“On the back, I have my name Bortoleto and the Italian flag as my name comes from Italy and my grandmother is Italian. It’s also a tribute to her and for Trident as well who have been my team for this season. On the rear spoiler, I have all my family’s names, my mum, my father, my grandmother’s, my uncles, etc - it’s a lot of names now my family has increased because of my brother! Then I also have a logo that I share with one of my best friends Gaetano, who is racing in Brazil. We mixed the star that he normally uses in his helmet with my wings and the G because of Gabriel and Gaetana.
“On the front I have this thing, there is nothing special on the front, it’s just something that I feel is very aggressive. I took inspiration a little bit from Max (Verstappen)‘s helmets by having a front that is very aggressive and I really love it, so that’s where it comes from. I tried to not copy because it’s his thing and everyone knows his helmets because of this, but I tried to make the front as clean as possible just to look aggressive but not the same as his is. Then there are all the special effects that make the helmet look nicer when the sun shines on it.
“Also, there is my logo. I didn’t design it myself because I had a very bad signature before. I was very bad at doing it, so I literally asked the designer of my helmets ‘can you do a signature for me?’ One of the times he tried it, this came out and after hundreds of tries, then first one was the best and we still use it. So it’s the G of Gabriel and the B of Bortoleto and as soon as you do the B, it goes into the wings. People will be asking why the wings because I talk about it many times, but I don’t know. It’s something that I like, it shows a bit of speed, you’re flying. It’s something I’ve had since my first helmet and I feel it’s something that represents me nowadays.
“Honestly, I’ve changed the colours quite a lot over the seasons. The orange looks a little bit like Trident’s red and there is the blue and some white. They are more Trident colours but I didn’t want it to look exactly the same as the car because I prefer to have something where people can see me inside the car and if I had all the same colours as the car, it would be difficult for people to recognise. Last year for example, I had an orange helmet which made no sense, but it was something that I liked. I love to change the colours of my helmet and a little bit of the design every year.
“This helmet is a little bit different from my first ever helmet, it had different colours. The first one I had was green, there is still some green now, but there was no orange, red or blue. In terms of the design itself, it was very similar because on the back I’ve always had the names of my family. Also the main one and the most important thing that’s been on my helmets is the Jesus Christ rosary with the crucifix on it. I remember in the beginning I was just a kid, but every time I got my helmet ready and it was not on there, my mum was like ‘no, you need to put it on’. I believe it a lot as well and I’ve just put it on every helmet since and it’s protection for me. It’s something I really look forward to having on every helmet.
“It’s difficult to say what my dream helmet would look like because every year that you create your helmet, you think that is your dream helmet. But then you look at it every race of the year, so you get a little bit, not bored but too used to it. So, every time you change a little bit here, you change a little bit there. However, I think I’ve already got my dream helmet, maybe two small changes, but nothing special. I like the gold glitter and if I could increase the amount of it in my next helmet, maybe that would be nice.”