Double R Racing’s Tatiana Calderon continued on an upward trend in Rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at Austria’s Red Bull Ring Spielberg (1-2 June).
With no prior experience of the Red Bull Ring, Calderon tiptoed her way around the 4.32km circuit in less than ideal conditions during Saturday’s free practice and qualifying sessions.
Rain lashed the track, based in the Austrian province of Styria, to make the going tough and prevent the 20-year old Colombian rookie from fully acclimatising to the lay-out.
Despite a tentative start to proceedings, Calderon edged ever closer to the front-running pace as the sessions progressed and overcame the changeable conditions to finish the weekend’s opening F3 European Championship encounter in a highly-respectable 21st place; the lady racer made up four places from her starting position on merit, while constantly searching for the optimal racing line on an ever-drying track surface.
A 19th place finish result in Round 14 demonstrated her steady progression, although her stand-out performance came in Round 15 on Sunday (2 June).
It was a race of attrition with no fewer than five cars becoming entangled in opening-lap incidents that caused a protracted Safety Car intervention.
The Euro F3 runners were under controlled conditions behind the pace car until the mid-point of the 20-lap race. However, the imperturbable Calderon kept her nose clean at the restart and continued plugging away to win a fraught tussle with Sandro Zellar and clinch a well-deserved 17th place.
“I’m delighted with how the weekend went considering I’ve never been to the Red Bull Ring before,” said Calderon. “The fact I finished all three races is brilliant – the more track time the better – and I had some fantastic on-track battles, especially with Sandro Zellar in the third race.”
The Madrid-domiciled lady racer will return to the Red Bull Ring for two days of testing on Wednesday (5 June) and Thursday (7 June). The test will act as another opportunity to master the Austrian venue’s complexities, as well as a precursor to the much-anticipated Masters of F3 event at the Netherlands’ Zandvoort circuit (6-7 July).
Calderon added: “This weekend was also my Double R Racing team’s first visit to the Red Bull Ring, so there’s still a lot to be learnt about setups. On the whole, I enjoyed the circuit and think I did a good job – there are quite a few fast corners and the run-off areas allow you to experiment with the limits more. The two test days here will be invaluable for us and I think it will be good preparation for the Masters of F3 event at Zandvoort, as well as the next F3 European Championship round at the Norisring (13-14 July).