Tatiana Calderon – there is a name that is becoming more and more familiar. GP3 driver and the only woman to have ever stood on the podium at a FIA F3 race are just some of the points on her racing CV.
Tatiana is also a forerunner for Susie Wolff’s Dare To Be Different initiative, as well as being Arden’s Golden Girl.
The Columbian hasn’t always had it easy, though. Regardless, she’s fighting back to prove those who have criticised her wrong. Tatiana is strong, fearless and one of the nicest people you will ever come across in the competitive world of Motorsport. Take my word for it.
How amazing was it to score your first lot of GP3 points in Germany this season after coming so close so many times?
It was a very important moment for me! I had my worst qualifying session of the season and to come from P22 on the grid to P10, showing good overtaking and speed, was a huge relief. Showing that I could be competitive at a high level was what I had been wanting to show for a long time. It was a very special weekend for me.
You dedicate at 19 hours a week to physical activity, what does this consist of?
As a female racing driver we need to work a little bit harder in the gym to be able to drive the car so I do a lot of strength training involving some balance and endurance. We work specific muscles like the neck, forearms and core more often than others. We also do a lot of cardio, go for long ride bikes as in a race your heart rate is consistently above 150bhp so is important to work your aerobic fitness. Doing karting also helps you to keep not only fit but sharp when go back on the car.
Do you sometimes have a ‘bad day in the office’ where you don’t feel as motivated? What keeps you going?
Bad days in the office do happen – I acknowledge that. We are all humans and we have off days. It is frustrating because you put a lot of work and dedication in for every time you go out on track, so when it doesn’t go your way is not easy. I just always try to remember the good days and know that when I´m able to give my 100% I can challenge everyone. I love my job and that’s where I find my motivation.
Your sister – Paula – travels to most races with you, how vital is it to have someone who you can confine in when you’re racing?
I´m very fortunate to have my sister and my family supporting me throughout my career, without them I wouldn’t be here. I find it very important to have them by my side because sometimes you need someone to talk to that you can trust, especially when things are not going smoothly, someone who gives you support and understand what you are going through. My sister used to race so she understands me and knows me very well, so it is fantastic to have her at races with me.
How important do you feel social media is for Motorsport?
I think is an amazing tool to connect with fans around the world and to be able to show them all aspects of Motorsport. Now they know it is not only driving! To share all the preparation and training that has to be done to be a racing driver, and to bring the sport closer to the followers is an excellent feeling.
Do you feel people treat you differently since the success of Dare To Be Different?
Honestly, I don’t feel people treat me differently. However, I think people are starting to take notice and understand that in Motorsport there is no reason why women can’t compete and participate. That goes for all areas too, not just racing. I believe that the D2BD (Dare To Be Different) campaign has opened the eyes of many girls to pursue their passion and rightly so!
How do the boys treat you in the paddock – are you ‘one of the lads’?
At the beginning when they didn’t know me, they didn’t talk to me that much. Luckily, once they understood that I was just another driver, you knew about racing and that you didn’t bite. we have a lot of fun ! Of course this is not with everyone but we know we can fight hard on the track and still be friends in the paddock. Although, they don’t like to speak about girls problems when I´m around!
Female drivers can be taken as a bit of a ‘joke’, how do you feel about that when you put so much hard work in?
Being a racing driver is not only about speed , you need to have a lot of support from the media and sponsors. If you have an advantage then you need to use it and if by being a female you can attract more sponsors, then that’s part of the game. In my case I´m racing because I love it and I think you make your own name and reputation. There are always going to be people who are against you as well as people supporting you. Regardless, at the end of the day you need to find your strengths and weaknesses and work on developing those to show your potential.
Do you feel that sometimes it isn’t about your talent, but about how big your budget is?
For sure you need to have both to make it in F1 and many other series, so nowadays you need to work on many other aspects. It’s not only driving a racing car to the limit, a big cheque book can sometimes help too.
Where would you like to be racing next season?
I want to stay close to F1 because I still have a lot to show. I believe the best is still yet to come.