Tatiana Calderon heads into 2016 looking forward to a more competitive year after a tough 2015 in European Formula 3, and has a dual programme in place in the GP3 Series and in EuroFormula Open.
She bounced back superbly however with second place in the MRF challenge championship in the winter, and now heads into 2016 will race for Arden Motorsport in GP3 Series, and with Teo Martin Motorsport in EuroFormula Open with her confidence back.
“It was a tough year, I was expecting a bit more after a pretty good season in 2014,” revealed Calderon. “But looking back now, 2015 was a season that tought me a lot of lessons from on and off track and because of all those experiences I’m a much more complete driver today.
“I was fortunate to finish the season on a high by competing in the MRF Challenge, winning a race and ending up the championship second in the standings proved what I learnt and that I’m capable of competing at a high level. Its been a confidence boost.”
Calderon looked back at her difficult 2015 with Carlin, and admitted her struggles with qualifying that often left her with too much work to do to get near the front of the field, especially with the fields last year exceeding thirty cars every weekend.
“It wasn’t easy for many different reasons,” said Calderon. “I swapped teams to start off with and it always takes a bit of time to get comfortable and confident with the people you are working with.
“However I also believe the level of competition in 2015 was extremely high and with that many cars on the grid it was sometimes very frustrating because we would race behind the safety car for too long.
“Qualifying was an area I struggled a lot last year and in a championship like the FIA F3 the price you pay for those mistakes are unfortunately too high. It was a disappointing year in terms of results but I did learn lots.”
Calderon believes her time in European Formula 3 has been crucial for her career, especially with the experience she has had, and believes that the knowledge she has learned will benefit her going forward.
“Its been crucial in my career,” said Calderon. “I have developed and learnt so much over the last few years in F3, I think it is the best school. You get to race in some amazing circuits, teams are very professional and you get a lot of track time over the weekends.
“I believe if you can perform in F3 you can perform everywhere. I’m sure all what I have learnt here is going to help me get where I want to be in racing.”
Looking forward to 2016, Calderon moves away from the European Formula 3 Championship and into pastures new, with the Colombian joining the GP3 Series grid with Arden and returning to the EuroFormula Open grid with Teo Martin Motorsport.
Calderon is looking forward to her busy duo of programmes, and felt she needed GP3 in particular to challenge herself further, and was happy to be signed by Arden for the forthcoming season.
“I have a very interesting and busy year ahead of me,” revealed Calderon. “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity of racing two championships.
“I have different goals and expectations for both. I’m obviously more experienced in F3 and I’m new to GP3 but I just really want to show that I can be competitive in both championships and keep developing my skills with more track time available for me this year.
“I needed a new challenge and had a great feeling with the GP3 car at the end of last year on pre season testing. Arden is a team with lots of experience and they have been competitive every year so to have had a chance to join them for this year is amazing.
“I have a lot of things to learn but I’m at the right place surrounded by the right people and I think that is key to performance. I went to the team October last year to meet the personnel and have a go on their simulator and I really enjoyed the way the work around the driver.
“They believe in what I can do and I have a work with some of the personal in the past so I feel the atmosphere inside the team is exactly what I need to be able to perform at my best.”
As well as her GP3 commitments, Calderon is also competing, when possible, in the EuroFormula Open championship with Teo Martin Motorsport, with the decision made due to her feelings that she had unfinished business in Formula 3.
“Yes, that’s also why we decided to compete in the EuroFormula Open,” said Calderon. “I want to be fighting for the championship, getting on the podium, leading races and dealing with pressure of controlling a race etc, and that’s a cycle I want to close up this year in F3. I’m giving it my best shot and really going to push hard to make it happen.
“I have always had a great relationship with them and we manage to organize a good program that could fit in well with my GP3 campaign and budget wise. They believe in me and I believe they have the tools I need to be fighting at the front.”
Calderon reveals that 2016 is the most important year of her career so far, especially as her GP3 Series commitments mean she will be under the watchful eye of the Formula 1 world. She is thankful for all of the support she has received from her family over the years as she strives to continue her progress through the motorsport ranks.
“It’s a very important year in my career so for sure I’m giving everything and doing everything in my power to have a successful 2016,” revealed Calderon. “The opportunity is there an I hope I can grab it with both hands!
“I think all I need to do is to show what I can do, I believe that if I can perform at my best I can be fighting at the front. But in order to get to F1 this days you need not only perform on track but also off track so my main focus this year is to develop in every aspect. Hopefully I will be able to achieved this and get a chance. That’s all you can ask for at the end of the day, one chance.
“I’m very grateful to be where I am now, and need to thank my family for the amazing support over the year. I have a big dream and an ambitious goal and I’m not stopping pursuing those anytime soon, I’m still young and still have lots to learn.
“I want to compete at the highest level of motorsport and I won’t stop until I get there. I will need a lot of support to achieve it so I hope to get all the support from the fans and sponsors because I know I can’t do this alone.”