JAVI TORRES / ©RACERZ
“I think this is a day I will remember for the rest of my life”, said the driver Tatiana Calderon after completing 23 laps on the Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, last October. She has just became the first Latin American woman behind the wheel of a Formula One car.
Calderon’s run was the first time a woman drove an F1 car since Susie Wolff for Williams Racing at 2015. The Colombian is the test driver of Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, a position that has reached after many years in GP3 and becoming first woman in winning or racing different competitions. “I only want to drive this kind of car now”, said the 25-year-old driver after testing the F1.
“Her career has been built with talent, effort, sacrifice and dedication which is widely reflected in her results that have made her the first Latin American woman to be part of a Formula One team with the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team”, consider America Movil chairman Carlos Slim.
Some weeks later, Tatiana boosted her F1 experience with a two-day run at Fiorano, Italia: over 594 kilometers in Saubers’ Ferrari-powered C32. “Driving the Sauber C32-Ferrari feels incredible, and the sound and power of the V8 engine are amazing”.
Not an easy path
In Formula One’s 68 years, five women – Maria Teresa de Filippis, Lella Lombardi and Giovanna Amati from Italy, Divina Galica of England and Desire Wilson of South Africa – have combined for just 29 race entries, spanning 1958 to 1992. Others, like England’s Susie Wolff, have gotten close in recent years despite not achieving quite as much.
One of Calderon’s mentors, fellow Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, was himself a test driver for Williams for the 1997 and 1998 seasons. “I have spoken to Tatiana a lot”, Montoya told ESPN.com. “It’s not easy [to reach F1]; it requires a lot of work”. Montoya has embraced the role of mentor, offering up advice and support to Calderon: “It is great to have inspired a generation and been able to open the doors to other Colombians to race as a career”.