2023 FIA Formula 3 champion Gabriel Bortoleto has become the newest member of the McLaren Driver Development Programme, and will be given support by them into the next phase of his career.
Bortoleto was the surprise package of the 2023 season and was able to clinch the title during the season closing round at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, and he will now join the programme led by former FIA Formula 1 World Championship driver and multiple 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro.
The Brazilian will join Pato O’Ward, 2024 Reserve Driver Ryo Hirakawa and Ugo Ugochukwu within the programme, while McLaren will also look into the potential of Brando Badoer, the son of former Formula 1 racer Luca Badoer, with the Italian been signed to a one-year Optioned Driver role.
“I’m pleased to welcome Gabriel to the McLaren Driver Development programme,” said Pirro. “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.
“I also look forward to working with Brando Badoer, who we sign as an Optioned Driver, as we continue to evaluate him over the next year.
“They join our talented line-up of drivers who we will be working with on their individual development, to give them the tools they need to progress in their careers.”
Bortoleto says he is grateful to both McLaren and to Pirro for giving him the chance to join a Formula 1 development programme, and with a move up to the FIA Formula 2 championship a possibility for 2024, he is excited to see what the future holds for him.
“I’m excited to be joining the McLaren Driver Development programme,” said Bortoleto. “I’m grateful to McLaren and Emanuele for giving me this opportunity.
“I’ve already been in the MTC 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.”