TATIANA BANKS MORE VITAL EXPERIENCE AT AUTOPOLIS

Tatiana Calderón enjoyed a successful return to Super Formula action in last weekend’s fourth round of the season at Autopolis, gaining more valuable experience of the series.

The Colombian rising star had been out of the cockpit since she appeared in the opening round of the coronavirus-delayed 2020 campaign at Motegi in August, as Japan’s travel restrictions forced her to miss the following two races at Okayama and Sugo.

Reunited with her ThreeBond Drago Corse team, Tatiana spent Saturday’s two free practice sessions reacclimatising to her Honda-powered Dallara SF19, which had been set up very differently compared to when she last drove it at Motegi, as well as familiarising herself with the challenging high-speed corners at Autopolis.

During qualifying on Saturday morning, Tatiana was ninth-fastest in her Q1 group, leaving her 18th on the grid for the race, and after some spirited battles with many drivers with much more Super Formula experience she completed the gruelling 41-lap contest in 16th.

Despite making her pitstop relatively early, Tatiana set her fastest lap in the race just two laps from the finish, demonstrating her evolving understanding of the car and the Yokohama tyres – something that will stand her in good stead for the rest of the season.

Tatiana Calderón: “Overall it was a very positive weekend. Coming back after two-and-a-half months out of single-seaters is never easy, and I’m happy to be back in Japan. It was my first experience of Autopolis and it was great to be back working with the ThreeBond Drago Corse team. We improved every session, even at the end of the race I was still improving, and the pace after the pitstop was not too bad. There are plenty of positives to take away for the last two rounds at Suzuka and Fuji; I’m understanding the behaviour of the tyres more and more and also the car at a track like this with more high-speed corners. I’m looking forward to putting everything we learned into practice at Suzuka.”

Tatiana now has a well-earned break until the next round on the Super Formula schedule, which is the double-header at the famous Suzuka Circuit on December 4-6.