Sport Grill’s latest guest is Columbian female racing driver, Tatiana Calderon who discusses her career, and test driver role at Sauber.
She also discusses what it is like racing against men and her favourite qualities behind her desire to succeed.
- As you grew up, who or what sparked your passion for motorsport?
Calderon: I think Juan Pablo Montoya and my dad are responsible for that. I went to a rental go kart track with my sister and we fell in love with the sport.
By that time, Montoya was already winning and we were watching the races together.
I’m fortunate to have a very supportive family.
- After a successful karting career, how challenging did you find making the step up to single seater racing?
Calderon: I think it is very challenging because of the downforce.
You have to get used to it and understand you can arrive with more speed to the corners.
I also felt a bigger demand in terms of fitness but as everything is a matter of time.
- 2012 saw a move to Europe so what was it like adapting to a new environment and series?
Calderon: It was though as that meant being far from home and my family, which I am really close to.
Of course, culture and the work method and ethic are different but you always have to adapt to changes, if you want to succeed.
- Although results have been tougher, how have you found racing against the men, particularly last year in GP3 with DAMS because you were in plenty of close battles with your teammates throughout the season?
Calderon: I have been racing against men my whole life, so I am very used to it and its a challenge that I enjoy, being so close to F1 and the level in GP3 is extremely high.
I love to work hard and look out for every little detail that could give you the edge over your opponents.
Of course being a girl makes it a bit tougher in some areas but what I find the hardest is to change the perception of people around it.
The people you work with in the team and out on track, you always have to prove you are there to win not just to compete.
- You are Sauber’s test driver so can you tell us more about what your role entails and how beneficial have you found being part of a F1 team, whilst also competing in GP3?
Calderon: My role consisted on doing the simulator session for the team. I was providing the feedback from different set up configurations that they wanted to try.
The environment at a F1 team is really professional, all of the engineers, mechanics and all the team personnel have a lot of experience so you can learn from them a lot. I believe this has helped me to develop in every sense as a racing driver and of course in GP3.
I went with Sauber to most of the races so it also helped me continue developing as a driver.
Knowing all of the technology involved, the feedback they expect me to give and understanding how the team works.
I’m really thankful to Sauber F1 team for the opportunity they gave me.
- In your ‘About Me’ page, you say that ‘Discipline, hard work, dedication and determination’ have been key qualities behind your desire to succeed as a racing driver. Reflecting now, which of those qualities would you say has helped you the most so far in your career?
Calderon: Discipline as you have to be training all year long to be better prepared, not only in the physical side but also on the mental side. If you’re not training, for sure someone is and he/she will beat you!
With dedication, you have to focus completely on what you’re doing. You have to set tour goals and just think how to achieve them in the most efficient way. That’s why I believe it also has to be your passion, otherwise it is going to be difficult to put so much energy and dedication into it.
As for determination, you need to be hungry to achieve your goal and dreams and believe in your chances because along the way, there are always people who think you can’t achieve those.
- Finally, what are your hopes and expectations for the future?
Calderon: My expectations are to race in Formula One.
Here at Sport Grill, we would like to thank Tatiana for taking time out of her busy schedule to participate in this interview.