Red Bull hot shot Mirko Bortolotti will replace Brendon Hartley at Carlin Motorsport for the final meeting on the 2009 F3 Euroseries calendar at Hockenheim in Germany this weekend whilst the New Zealander finds himself otherwise engaged in the World Series by Renault at Motorland in Spain, it has been revealed.
The 19-year-old FIA Formula Two Championship racer and 2008 Italian F3 Champion – courtesy of 15 podiums and nine wins – will race alongside rookie front-runner Jake Rosenzweig, who was unlucky last time out in Dijon when a mechanical problem robbed him of a possible eighth-place finish in race one and consequently the reverse-grid pole position for race two.
Despite having just a year's experience in single-seater racing under his belt, Rosenzweig has put in a solid performance this season and is currently the fourth-best placed rookie in the title standings. Bortolotti, meanwhile, will be participating in his first F3 Euroseries event, off the back of five rostrum finishes in Formula Two in 2009, including victory at Brno.
“For sure it will be a tough weekend,” acknowledged the Italian teenager. “I won in Italian F3, but I've been doing F2 all season and now I return to an F3 car with different tyres and a different engine. It will be difficult with only one hour's free practice on Friday to get to grips with the car and also the track, which I have never been to before.
“However, I will aim to learn and improve with every lap, and I'm sure the team will support me so that we are in the best possible shape for qualifying. It will be tough, but I am still pleased to have been given this opportunity.”
“It's been a very eventful season,” reflected team principal Trevor Carlin, “and the F3 Euroseries has most definitely lived up to its reputation of being one of the most competitive championships at this level. We were very pleased to take a win on home ground at Brands Hatch earlier this year, but I still feel we haven't managed to reach our true potential in the 2009 season.
“We're very pleased to have Mirko with us in Brendon's absence, although he will have a very steep learning curve in his first F3 Euroseries race. Jake has matured into a great driver this season, and it would be fantastic to help him finish his first year in F3 with a great result this weekend.”