Mirko Bortolotti will return to the FIA Formula Two Championship for the 2011 season after spending a challenging 2010 season racing in the GP3 Series.
The Italian raced in the inaugural season of F2 in 2009 with backing from Red Bull's junior programme. He won once and finished fourth in the final standings. Despite this he was dropped by Red Bull as the Austrian energy drink slimmed down the number of drivers on its books. However, he was soon signed up by the Ferrari Driver Academy, having impressed the Scuderia during a test arranged as a prize for winning the Italian F3 Championship in 2008.
This saw him race in GP3 in 2010 with the Addax Team. However he struggled, particularly early on in the year. As the season went on he did manage to move up towards the front of the field, finishing second in the final race of the season at Monza. He was classified 11th in the final standings. His difficult season saw him dropped by Ferrari at the end of the season.
Having performed well during his year in F2 Bortolotti has chosen to return to the category for 2011, but his time he has only one aim – to win the title and the prize test for the Williams F1 team.
“I did F2 already and I was able to show very good potential, so I'm very happy to be back and I have to thank everybody who has helped me,” said Bortolotti. “Every season is always important and I always push 100%, but my goal this year is to win and I will do my best to achieve that.
“It won't be easy, it's going to be a fight, but I always believe in my own ability and we will see the results at the end of the season. 2009 was a very important year for me in F2, and I know how the championship works and how professional it is, which will help this year. I also know how hard the engineers and mechanics work in F2, and hopefully I can pay them back with results in 2011.
Despite his tough year, Bortolotti feels he has benefited from his GP3 season. “I'm quite relaxed and for sure a lot more experienced now than in 2009,” he said. “I had some troubles in GP3 at the start as we weren't ready with the car, but I kept cool, worked hard to improve the situation and our results got better and better. I scored almost double the points of my team-mates and importantly I learned and developed as a driver, so I'm feeling confident.
“I also have to say I was very happy to drive for Ferrari, it was a great thing to be part of their team and I learned so much by working with some of the best engineers in motorsport. The point is to take everything I learned and put it together this season. It won't be easy to beat everyone else, but the Williams F1 test prize is a great incentive and I'm aiming for the top!”
Formula Two Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer is pleased to have Bortolotti back in the series. “I am really delighted to welcome Mirko back to F2,” said Palmer “He is a big talent and was one of the F2 stars when he was part of the Red Bull team in 2009, winning at Brno and scoring another four podiums. With a year of GP3 experience to add, Mirko will clearly be very strong this season and will undoubtedly be one of the favourites for the 2011 FIA Formula Two Championship – and the Williams F1 test.”