Home Featured Bortoleto: “I want to do great races. I want to have fun. I want to be fast.”

Bortoleto: “I want to do great races. I want to have fun. I want to be fast.”

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Reigning FIA Formula 3 champion Gabriel Bortoleto began his Formula 2 career with pole at Bahrain, and remains “very happy” with his speed despite lacking results since.

The Virtuosi Racing driver surprised by topping qualifying on his debut, and finished sixth and fifth in Bahrain’s races to amass 15 points. Over the next two rounds he scored none, completing just 26 racing laps.

He came 10th in Jeddah’s sprint race, then a problem at the start forced him out of the feature race. In Melbourne he was hit out of the sprint race straight away, and a mechanical failure caused another feature race retirement.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think our position in the championship or our results in the last rounds actually show our potential,” Bortoleto told Formula Scout in the paddock.

Although the non-finishes “disappointed me because I think we could’ve done a good job”, he said “it’s not frustrating, it’s racing”.

“I had a great season last year when I had zero problems and this year I’m having some,” reflected Bortoleto. “It’s not the first year that I have DNFs or problems that sometimes are under my control and sometimes are out of my control. So it’s just about keeping the head down, keep working.

“At some point it will happen that we will perform again. I know this will happen. For sure it’s not nice for the championship, losing rounds like that, losing points that should be in our pocket at this moment. But we just keep working. The championship is long enough to do what we need to do.”

The Fernando Alonso protege aims to “show our true potential” in upcoming rounds to recover lost ground.

“I want to do great races. I want to have fun. I want to be fast. That’s my target,” Bortoleto proclaimed. “Doing all this, I’m sure we will be good, competitive and we’ll be in a good position in the championship as well.

“We are working very well together [at Virtuosi]. The team environment is very good, the engineers, the team owners and everyone, mechanics, every single person in the team work very well. I’m feeling very good with them.”

After Melbourne was F2’s in-season Barcelona test. Despite being off the pace in 21st place, Bortoleto remained positive: “These days are always good to keep yourself close to the team and learn more from them and them learning more from you, how you work as a driver.”

As a McLaren junior, Bortoleto had Lando Norris’s former performance engineer and McLaren’s current head of Formula 1 testing Jose Manuel Lopez providing technical support there.

They’re following me now in the races and testing, and passing through the experience they have in F1 to me and to my team. They are helping a lot in that sense, on the mental area, in the physical area and all the other parameters as well.

“They help me in everything I need to improve as a driver because that’s the target of the driver development programme.”