A week ago, Tatiana Calderón was sat at home trying to map out the next steps in her racing career. Now, seven days on, she is gearing up for her return to Formula 2 at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Colombian will be racing with Charouz Racing System for the remainder of the 2022 campaign, a prospect she is delighted and grateful for. Her last race in the Championship was over two years ago back in 2019 and Calderón can’t wait to get back on the track.

Ahead of the first of four rounds she will be racing in, Calderón revealed that her hectic week had been a welcome surprise, and now she is fully focused on the task at hand: helping Charouz fight to the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi.

“I'm extremely grateful and happy to be back racing. I never thought I would have a second opportunity. I felt like there was like unfinished business from the year I did in 2019, so I’m super happy to be here again.

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“A week ago I had no idea. I was sitting at my house thinking I was going to be out of racing for six months, so the last couple of days have been crazy. All of a sudden, after we reached out to different people to see if there was an opportunity, I got a call saying maybe I should travel to Europe. I took my flight, arrived and I’ve been playing the F1 game at home on Spa just to be ready in case. I’m here to enjoy this opportunity back racing in F2. I have no expectations, no pressure, I’ll just try to adapt as quickly as I can and see where we are at the end.”

She joins a Charouz team in fine form, with new teammate Enzo Fittipaldi securing a podium last time out in Budapest and fighting for a top five finish in the Drivers’ Championship. Despite the whirlwind nature of her return, Calderón says that the atmosphere has been a huge positive for her despite the limited time she’s had with her new team so far.

READ MORE: Tatiana Calderón returns to F2 with Charouz Racing System

“Everyone has welcomed me really really nicely here. I’m hoping we can start on the right foot. I came here today and the team had already fixed my pedals because I tested with them back in 2018. A lot of the people working here now I know from other teams and it’s really nice to see some familiar faces. Everyone has been welcoming and that makes you feel more ready straight away. It’s a good feeling. It was sunny today so the feeling is good, now we’re just finalising everything and it’s really good to be back.”

After her years out of the Championship competing in endurance and IndyCar racing, Calderón believes she is better prepared than ever before for F2. With the long-distance events around the world and the experience of heavier Indycars now built up, the new Charouz driver is confident that she is better equipped than her first time around several years ago.

It’s not just her racing experience though that is a positive according to the driver herself. This weekend at Spa-Francorchamps will be the first of three consecutive race weekends, something that Calderón says will actually be an advantage for her.

Without any testing time with the team since 2018 and none of a Formula 2 car this season, having the track time rack up immediately will be a useful tool rather than a daunting prospect.

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“It’s difficult to jump into a Championship halfway through a season without testing. I’ll be happy to finish but being a racing driver, you always want to aim higher. It always helps to have more time in the car. You get into the rhythm and another weekend coming up quickly is good after having such a big break. Last year F2 didn’t race here so I think that’s another opportunity to try and be closer straight away, but we see it is a case of progression throughout these three race weekends.

“I’ve been lucky enough to race in other series like Super Formula, which is a really high downforce car, tricky tracks and a new culture. I’ve discovered a lot of things as a person but also as a driver. I have to adapt really quickly to certain conditions. In IndyCar I was a rookie this year and the cars are very physical, the tracks are great so I think that was the perfect preparation to then come back here. I feel a thousand times more prepared compared to how I was back in 2019.”

A huge driving factor for Calderón is representing young girls and women in motorsport at such a high level. The Charouz driver has been following the 2022 season so far and is expecting a hard-fought time on track but believes the competitive and unpredictable nature of Formula 2 could count in her favour.

Along with that, the prospect of inspiring the next generation of female racing drivers was a huge motivation to continue her career and return to the Championship.

“I always try to keep up with F2 because the races are some of the best and most exciting around. You never know who is going to win. It’s been an intense season and lots of teams have been winning and that’s what you want to see coming into a series. Hopefully we can jump in and if things go well, do a good job. That shows the competitiveness of the series.

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“I want to show that we can perform at a really high level, that although the cars are physical that we can do a really good job. I’m grateful for this opportunity Charouz has given me, but to also send that message of ‘we can be here too.’ It’s a process and obviously it’s not easy but I’m happy to represent young girls that want to be racing drivers and reach Formula 1 and to inspire them. It’s something that I’ve wanted to give back because it’s so much responsibility to have but it’s a good one and a good motivation to have.”

Of course, her return to Spa brings mixed emotions for Calderón after the tragic events of 2019 and Anthoine Hubert’s accident. Calderón says that perhaps it was fate that meant her F2 return coincided with a round at the Belgian circuit.

She says she will be aiming for a great result in honour of the Frenchman and that he is a further motivation to perform well this weekend.

“It’s a track I like and that brings good memories but also bad ones. I think it’s a great place to start and that fate decided for me to come back here to honour Anthoine as well. He’s always on my mind everywhere I go so hopefully it’s a sign and I can do a good job on the track.”