Her return to Formula 2 has been one of the feel-good stories of the 2022 season but Tatiana Calderon says that her career might have been very different had a few moments gone differently.
She recalls which three events changed the course of her life, from her early beginnings in karting right up to testing Formula 1 machinery.
WINNING STARS OF KARTING
“When I first won my first international championship in karting. I was racing in the United States, and it was called Stars of Karting. It was a close Championship and had a lot of like really competitive people there. I proved to myself but also to my parents, it was around the time I had to make a decision on whether I was gonna be a professional or just go to university. Obviously, I didn't want to go to university, so it came at the right time. It was one of the special moments.
“I didn’t really have a plan if I wasn’t racing. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I didn’t want to spend my life sitting at a computer, I wanted to be active. I knew I had it in me to race internationally. It was so much pressure that weekend to just prove to my parents. I was like, give me one shot at it because I want to focus 100% on racing. I was still at school, so it was really really difficult, like doing my homework and then the planes travelling back and forth. I think that weekend definitely changed my life and was one I needed.
“I hope through my story with me being in F2 again – I’ve been sad that there hasn’t been many women going into F3 but we’ve got to change that. For me to come back and have another opportunity. I think sometimes you have to believe in that and hope that another door opens.
PODIUM IN BRITISH F3
“The second one would be the podium in British Formula 3. I grew up watching Formula 3, particularly in the UK because of Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton - they all came through there. To be standing on the podium in just my second year in Europe, a lot of things weren’t going the way I wanted it but to have that reward, it was like, ‘okay, I can do this. I can be up there’. It was very gratifying.
“It was probably one of the toughest years of my career doing F3. I always had a good feeling going to Nürburgring, but I never thought that situation would come for me. It was unexpected, and I think that’s the best way. When you have to manage expectations, it’s quite hard but it was a reward that I needed to just keep pushing to stay for another year. It definitely gave me a lot of confidence and helped me get other opportunities for the future.
FORMULA 1 TEST
“The most amazing day of my career was obviously the Formula 1 test. You dream of that moment; you’ve thought about it for so many years and hope that you’ll be ready and that it will be a great day. In my case, it was amazing, one of the best memories of my career so far.
“It was surreal. You’re sort of nervous, maybe you want to cry. The build up to it, it was in Mexico, I remember I took an Uber and I had my helmet with me and the security people stopped me like ‘where are you going?’. I was like, ‘I’m going to drive the car!’ – to go through the garage and see so many people in the box waiting for you to jump in, it felt right but the emotions, I think the minute you turn on the engine you go into race mode. The first time out you go learn all of the gears, it’s like a rollercoaster downhill, you get that feeling in your stomach. It was fantastic.”