Despite having been dropped by both Red Bull and Ferrari’s driver programmes, Mirko Bortolotti is leading the way in Formula 2 having returned to the series…
Name: Mirko Bortolotti
Date of birth: 10 January 1990 (age 21)
Currently: Leading Formula 2 standings
Mirko began his single-seater career at the end of 2005 when he contested the Formula Renault Italia Winter Series. In 2006 he raced in Formula Azzura, where he finished as runner-up. 2007 saw him move up to Italian Formula 3, finishing a fine fourth in the standings with one win.
Mirko remained in Italian F3 in 2008 for a shot at the title, which he acheived in some style, winning nine of the 16 races including a run of seven wins in the middle of the season. As a prize for winning the championship he got the chance to test a Ferrari F2008 at Fiorano, lapping the circuit quicker than any of the team’s drivers had managed in that car.
Mirko was hot property in F1 circles and this led to Red Bull snapping him up to be part of their Junior Team programme. They placed him in the brand new Formula Two championship. He won once at Brno and finished fourth in the standings. He then got another taste of F1 when he tested for Toro Rosso at the young driver test at Jerez in December.
Things were looking good for Mirko, but he was then dropped from the Red Bull Junior Team as the Austrian company looked to slim back its driver programme. Ferrari had been impressed by his test with them though, and signed him to their new Driver Academy.
Mirko would race on the F1 support bill in 2010, in the new GP3 Series. His season would be a disappointing one though, only managing 11th in the standings. This saw him lose his support from Ferrari.
Mirko chose to return to F2 for 2011, starting the season as one of the favourites. He won the first race of the season at Silverstone, with a second place in the second race. He currently leads the standings after another win and a second place at Spa-Francorchamps.
Talent rating: Mirko’s performances in Italian F3 impressed Ferrari and Red Bull, and has shown his talent again in F2. He did struggle a bit in GP3 though and neither F1 team was sufficiently impressed to continue their support. 7/10
Chances of getting to F1: Both Red Bull and Ferrari decided that Mirko was not supporting any further, and that will hurt his chances of employment with others. Winning F2 though will remind everybody of the talent that got him noticed in the first place. A lack of financial support could make moving to GP2 difficult, however. 5/10