Double R Racing’s Tatiana Calderon is brimming with optimism following a highly encouraging RTL Masters of Formula 3 debut at Circuit Park Zandvoort in The Netherlands (6-7 July).
The most promising talents from both the European and British F3 Championships converged on the coastal Zandvoort circuit, embedded in the North Sea dunes, for the 23rd running of Europe’s most prestigious F3 race.
Calderon, aged 20, was among the 24 competitors vying for the coveted Masters title but, with no prior experience of the fast, yet technical Dutch track, had modest expectations for the weekend.
With Zandvoort offering very few overtaking opportunities, qualifying is critical for achieving solid results on the 4.3km track.
Calderon was therefore naturally disappointed to qualify 24th on fresh tyres, particularly after recording consistently strong lap times on used rubber during successive race simulations in free practice.
Nevertheless, the Colombian lady driver continued on her pursuit of lap time during Sunday’s race and was embroiled in a fraught four-way tussle with Sandro Zellar, Yuhi Sekiguchi and Andre Rudersdorf for much of the 25-lap encounter.
Unable to find a way past the brawling trio, Calderon chased the pack home to conclude her maiden Masters of F3 outing in a respectable 20th place.
“The Masters of F3 was a great experience for me, but it was difficult because it was my first time at Zandvoort,” said Calderon. “It’s a high downforce track that’s fast and technical, so it was tricky to acclimatise to. However, practice went very well and I continued improving my time, despite being on old tyres.
“I was slightly disappointed with my qualifying performance, as I struggled to put a lap together on new tyres, although I was really satisfied with my fitness throughout the weekend.”
A notable improvement in her fitness levels helped Calderon maintain a representative pace for the duration of the race at Zandvoort; an encouraging development as the Colombian enters the second half of her maiden F3 season.
With the FIA Formula 3 European Championship recommencing on Nuremberg’s short Norisring street track this weekend (13-14 July), Calderon is sure she can use her heightened physical strength to continue narrowing the gap to the established leaders.
“Because Sunday’s race at Zandvoort was longer than 35 minutes, I was interested to see how I would cope and I felt I did well,” enthused Calderon. “My pace was consistently closer to the frontrunners, improving every time I went out.
“I’m genuinely excited about racing on the Norisring. It will be my first outing on a street circuit and its low downforce nature will provide a very unique challenge. I believe I can move closer to the pace of the frontrunners, although I don’t have any specific targets.”