Tatiana Calderón hopes for stability in 2023


“It was like five years condensed into one! » that is how Tatiana Calderón summarizes her eventful 2023 season where she played two halves of the championships. In IndyCar first of all where the Colombian was at the wheel of the Dallara-Chevrolet n°11 of AJ Foyt Racing before this one was stored in the garage because of the delays in payment of the sponsor ROKiT. The native of Bogota, announced only in January in the Texan team, had barely had time to make her mark in the championship when the adventure already ended with a retirement in Mid-Ohio on July 3, the very place where she had performed its first IndyCar test just over a year earlier.

“The only circuit I knew was Ohio, which was also my last race, tells Tatiana to AUTOhebdo. We were going to finish in the top 13 (which would have been synonymous with the best result of the season. Editor’s note), but the car broke down. The financial situation was then very complicated. It’s a shame because we were only able to do seven races. » The ax finally fell with a best ranking of 15th place at the Indy GP, where she led one lap.

“IndyCar was a fantastic opportunity and I really enjoyed my time there, explains the 29-year-old pilot. Obviously, it was a big step to overcome in terms of physical work, new tracks to discover, tires… Everything is very different in the United States. » The program initially planned for two years prematurely stopped after six months, it was in Formula 2 that Calderón found refuge thanks to the financial support of his compatriot, the singer Karol G. At the end of August, to everyone’s surprise, it was so at Charouz the driver returns to a starting grid, at Spa-Francorchamps, in a discipline she left in 2019 after a single season.

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“I am really grateful to Karol G who gave me his support. However, I didn’t have time to prepare, because it was something that happened in a surreal way. When we decided to come back to F2, I took a flight the same week from the Spa round and went straight there to take my seat. I haven’t had time to do a simulator and it’s been a while since I’ve driven these cars. So we had to adapt quickly and a month later I injured my hand in Monza. »

On the Temple of Speed, Tatiana Calderón indeed clashed with Olli Caldwell (Campos Racing) at the start of the sprint race in Italy. Fractured right hand for the South American driver and withdrawal from the main race on Sunday before the two-month truce preceding the final round in Abu Dhabi. « I haven’t even done half the races and I needed it to get into the rhythm, to understand the tires which have changed a lot since the last time I was in F2, especially in terms of degradation. and the feeling of the car with these 18 inches. It was interesting to see how quickly I could adapt without any testing. You learn a lot in this kind of experience. It was a difficult season in a way, but I did the best with what I had. So I have no regrets. »

Towards a return to Endurance?

Despite her love of single-seaters, the future of Tatiana Calderón now seems to lie far from it. See the Colombian again in IndyCar or Formula 2 next season « is very unlikely » according to his own words. “Sponsorship is one of the most important things in motorsport and we don’t currently have the resources to knock on the doors of the teams in IndyCar or Formula 2. The best fallback solution therefore seems to be Endurance, a discipline that the driver already knows after two seasons spent with the Richard Mille Racing Team, a team whose shutdown was announced recently. « It was a surprise to me, she acknowledges. I wasn’t expecting this as I was reading mid-season articles that said they were trying to return to an all-female crew for next year. It shows how difficult things are right now for female pilots, and indeed all pilots, to put all the pieces together. It’s a shame to see this program come to an end. It was a really powerful message to have an LM P2 with female drivers. I am grateful to have been part of the project with them, to have participated twice in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and to have been able to show what we can do. »

At almost 30 years old, Tatiana Calderón hopes to finally find some stability in her career. “I made the most of the opportunities given to me, but I would have liked to have had more planning or consistency in terms of teams to have a real chance of showing my potential. I would like to have some stability for next year, if possible in a competitive team to be able to perform. I hope I can find this. » This could therefore result in a return to Endurance. In any case, it is a path that she would like to explore. “With all the builders coming into LMH and LMDh, I would love to be part of a project like this. Le Mans and Daytona are really special races. I therefore hope to be able to drive again in Endurance in the near future. » Like many other pilots…

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