F3’s Bortoleto on A14’s support: ‘The best thing that happened in my career’

Current FIA Formula 3 championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto burst onto the 2023 F3 scene in Bahrain with a front-row qualification and feature race win in his maiden round. The Brazilian Trident racer joined the Feeder Series podcast following his success for the first time in over a year, where he detailed the many changes in his life since his last appearance in Episode 3.

By Jim Kimberley

Over those 12 months, Bortoleto has become a FRECA winner, stepped up to F3 for the 2021 teams’ champions, and joined Fernando Alonso’s motorsport management company, A14 Management.

When answering audience questions in the regular ‘AskFS’ feature, Bortoleto outlined how much the two-time Formula 1 world champion has already helped his F3 campaign.

“I think this is the best thing that happened in my career until now,” explained Bortoleto. “A14, not just Fernando, because sometimes people think that it’s just Fernando. But no, there is… Albert [Resclosa Coll] and Alberto [Fernández Albilares]. They are also the owners of A14.”

The Feeder Series Podcast featuring Gabriel Bortoleto is also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts

Alonso’s helping hand

Although the 18-year-old Brazilian acknowledges the role the entire A14 group has played in his rapid ascent, he pinpoints Alonso’s help as fundamental to his first F3 round in early March.

“Fernando is… Every weekend I am in contact with him. I ask him things. Even in Bahrain before my qualifying, I text him to know a bit better about the track evolution and stuff.

“He told me. ‘Look, I’ll be doing my FP now,’ because I think it was FP2, ‘and I will not have time to text you after FP2 to tell you about the track, but I can tell you a bit of things that will probably happen,’ because he has so much experience that he knows how the track will evolve probably.”

Bortoleto didn’t detail the wisdom Formula One’s most-experienced racer shared with him, but it clearly worked. In 2023’s first competitive session, rookie Bortoleto set a 1:47.112, just 0.057s shy of 2022 FRECA vice-champion Gabriele Minì’s 1:47.055 to nab a front-row start for the feature race.

“He told me some stuff to do and I did. And honestly, it worked, and it was a very, very good thing to try on track. It was immediately in quali, so yeah.”

Signing with Trident for 2023

During his season with R-ace GP in last year’s FRECA campaign, where Bortoleto took his first two series wins, he jumped in the Trident for F3’s September post-season test. This move was another step he attributes to Fernando Alonso’s influence.

“I think, after he joined my career, I managed to sign in a team that I always dreamed to join: Trident. I think it’s a top team, and they’ve shown this in the past.

“And I’m in Trident today because of them, because of A14. I don’t think I would get the seat if it was not for them.”

Bortoleto credits A14 for helping him sign with Trident, a team that he has “always dreamed to join” | Credit: Sebastiaan Rozendaal / Dutch Photo Agency

Nikola Tsolov and Pepe Martí join Bortoleto as A14’s F3 representative, something he realises helps his peers: “It’s very good also because Fernando has so much experience. He can teach us a lot. Not just me, also the other A14 drivers.

Concluding his thoughts on the audience questions regarding A14 and Alonso, Bortoleto concluded by saying, “He teaches us a lot of things. He has so much experience, sometimes it’s even too much that… I don’t know, it’s just nice to be around him, you know? A two-time world champion, and one of the best of all time, in my opinion.”

Header photo credit: RV Racing Press

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