The seventh round of the FIA F3 series traveled all the way to the Netherlands which hosted the event at Zandvoort Racing Circuit. Coming out of such a short track at Norisring, Zandvoort is much different. Consisting of elevation changes and high speed corners, this circuit adds the element of downforce back on to the cars.
During free practice on Friday, Tatiana found herself towards the back of the field, attempting to maneuver the car around the 4.3 kilometer circuit. Free practice would most certainly not be a reflection of Tatiana’s qualifying later in the afternoon. After the past few races, Calderon has been dealt not so great cards when it came to qualifying. Being the most important session of the weekend, she pushed herself and her Carlin machine to be in more of an idyllic position for each of the three races.
The first round of qualifying was not where Calderon had hoped she would be. Her qualifying session was unfortunately plagued by traffic when she entered the track and finished P27 for the start of race one. Qualifying for races 2 and 3 were slightly better as she starts P18 and P19 respectively.
The main goal for Tatiana in race 1 was to get a great jump off the start, picking off some of the drivers early on in the race. Starting P27 meant dealing with backmarker cars that could be a potential risk, which is not where Calderon wishes to be. Tatiana managed to move up one position during lap 1 which was hectic to say the least. But with no safety cars released, Tatiana was on the hunt through the field. By lap four she was already in P22. Unfortunately, the way that the surface of the track wears and building heat in the car’s tires, the field was evenly separated by mid-race. With little action going on and not much overtaking, Tatiana would end her race in P19; 8 positions ahead of where she started.
Tatiana’s starting position for race 2 gave her a little more hope to move forward more quickly. Starting P18 put Calderon on the outside row. Quickly she picked off three drivers by lap two before the safety car was released for an accident that happened on the start. Once back into full speed Tatiana made some memorable passes, catching up to her Carlin teammates, Gustavo Menezes and Callum Illot. Determined to move forward, she saw the gap and forced her way passed Illot. Once again the track started to heat up and the opportunity for more overtaking slowly disappeared. With a solid run and a gain of 6 positions, Tatiana finished the race just outside of the top 10 in P12.
The final race Tatiana started mid-pack in P19 and she looked to move up to a points position. The first lap was dicey as surrounding drivers battled throughout the entire first lap. Tatiana lost one position after lap one, dropping her back to P20. By the end of lap two Calderon was able to recover two more positions moving her up to P18 and in enough time before the first safety car was deployed. Once back into racing Tatiana gained another two positions in a single lap before a second safety car was released. At this point in the race it was changed to a timed event rather than be completed under 23 laps. The final five minutes Tatiana was able to gain another two positions placing her in P14 which is where she ended race 3.
All in all, Tatiana was able to make some charges through the field during each race, but still struggled to place down a noteworthy qualifying time. With a two week break until Round 8 at the Red Bull Ring, it leaves Tatiana with ample time to train and get back in the seat and push through the second half of the season. The next event will take place at the Red Bull Ring on July 31st-August 2nd.