McLaren confirm addition of newly-crowned champion to driver academy

Jamie Woodhouse
Gabriel Bortoleto celebrating his F3 victory.

Gabriel Bortoleto celebrating his victory on the Formula 3 podium.

McLaren has moved to secure the services of Formula 3 Champion Gabriel Bortoleto, adding him to their Driver Development Programme.

The 18-year-old Brazilian racer was in imperious form across the 2023 Formula 3 campaign with Trident, clinching the title following qualifying at the final round of the season at Monza.

And now Bortoleto, previously unaffiliated to an F1 team but under Fernando Alonso’s A14 driver management company, has been snapped up by one of the most exciting teams on the Formula 1 grid.

Gabriel Bortoleto joins McLaren fold

McLaren have arguably been the feel-good story of F1 2023, rising from an alarming starting point to contending for regular podium finishes, Lando Norris having claimed four P2s across the season so far.

And now, Bortoleto can see that door to Formula 1 ever so slightly opening after McLaren announced his signature to their Driver Development Programme.

“I’m excited to be joining the McLaren Driver Development programme,” said Bortoleto.

“I’m grateful to McLaren and Emanuele [Pirro, McLaren Driver Development Programme boss] for giving me this opportunity.

“I’ve already been in the MTC [McLaren Technology Centre] for a tour and to meet the team, which was a really nice experience. I’m looking forward to continuing working on my development alongside a great team.” recommends

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“I’m pleased to welcome Gabriel to the McLaren Driver Development programme,” Pirro added.

“I’ve known him well since the beginning of his motorsport career and he’s got all that is needed on and off track to be a star. He also fits very well with our team culture at McLaren.

“I look forward to working with Gabriel and helping him develop in his motorsport career.”

Bortoleto joins IndyCar’s Pato O’Ward, American racing prodigy Ugo Ugochukwu and recently-signed Toyota endurance racer Ryō Hirakawa in the programme, while Italian youngster Brando Badoer will be evaluated over the 2024 season in an effort to earn a full-time place in the McLaren Driver Development Programme.

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