Fresh from the revelation that he is no longer part of Ferrari's Driver Academy initiative, GP3 Series midfielder Mirko Bortolotti has admitted that he may turn away from single-seaters in a bid to further his motor racing career.
Being dropped from the development programme came as a shock to Bortolotti, who had wowed Ferrari with his first test in an F1 car and expected to be retained after recently being offered the chance to sample a World Series by Renault car as a result of the initiative. However, speaking in an interview released in respond to the Scuderia's bombshell, the Italian admitted that he would continue to work towards a future in F1, but would not rule out any other avenue if it kept him on track.
"Of course, it is very disappointing to hear that I won't be part of Ferrari's Driver Academy in 2011, and their change of course hit me unexpectedly, as I had always received positive feedback from my technicians during the tests in F1 - it was pretty obvious that they were happy with my performance and with the job I did," he commented.
"Despite that, I think it was a very positive experience for me, given that I had the chance to work with top technicians and benefit from that experience in the future. It started, as we all know, with a successful test at Fiorano. Then I was with Red Bull in the brand new F2, so I am still very thankful to Stefano Domenicali that Ferrari brought me back, as it has always been my dream to being part of their team."
Having been given his F1 opportunity as a result of winning the national F3 championship, Bortolotti bounced between F2 and GP3 in the past two seasons, but wound up only eleventh in the 2010 standings after failing to claim a win, pole or fastest lap across the eight-round grand prix support series.
"I don't think [I would do anything differently]," he insisted, when asked about two largely frustrating campaigns, "Of course, there are always some risks when you enter a new race category with brand new cars, as I did in the last two years. There are always some teething problems here and there, as we experienced this year in GP3, where we didn't manage to show our full potential. There was just nothing I could do but score almost twice as much points than my team-mates."
But, while one F1 door appears to be closing to him, the Italian insists that he will not simply ditch his dream, even if there are other options to be considered.
"To be honest with you, I had already considered focusing on touring cars and sportscars, as I am a racer and not a dreamer," he explained, "However, on the other hand, there is amazing support and encouragement to keep pushing for my goals - and the encouragement from important Formula 1 people motivates me to work even harder.
Generally speaking, I thing that it is much better to take the positive from [my time in the FDA], rather than to mull over possible backgrounds. It is always my goal to win and I will be 100 per cent prepared to accomplish my mission in 2011. And then we will see what comes next…"