After a rough start to the race weekend and being taken out in Race 2, Tatiana made a great comeback, finishing the weekend in 15th.
After a month long summer break, the field of FIA F3 drivers reentered the racing scene at the newly debuted Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, also known as Portimao. Prior to the race weekend, a test at the circuit allowed Tatiana to get her footing back as well as to learn the track’s configuration. The Portimao circuit has not been used by the European F3 series since 2010, leaving a handful of drivers without experience at the track.
Tatiana was eager to get back in the car for the test following her long break which consisted purely of training. Tatiana and Carlin tried out and made various changes to the car to see where she would stand amongst the rather large field of drivers. The main goal was to be prepared for the first official practice day, allowing Calderon’s excellent driving skills to be displayed.
When Friday’s qualifying came around, the field of drivers were only within tenths of a second of each other. Although Tatiana pushed as hard as she could in both qualifying sessions, the tow was just not there for her. The team and Tatiana tried some wing variations, but were never able to bring the car to its full potential on the straightaways. Although Calderon’s straightaway speed was not at its prime, Tatiana made the best of the session and in fact was one of the most consistent and quickest drivers through the final turn. Going into the races Tatiana qualified P28 for race one, P25 for race two and P25 for race three.
One of the biggest issues going into the race weekend was drivers infringing track limits. The FIA eventually came to the conclusion that a new chicane would be created in hopes that the drivers would remain within the confines of the track.
Calderon moved up as many spots as she could during the start of race one. As the race got underway she battled through the field, even having some remarkable fights with her teammates. Unfortunately, Tatiana was issued a track limits penalty causing her to lose positions. Calderon was sure that she did not disobey the track limits and spoke with the stewards following the race. In the end, Calderon ended one position behind where she started, finalizing her day in P29.
Race two would not be the highlight of the weekend for Tatiana. Starting P25, she was unfortunately placed with more inexperienced drivers. Tatiana wasn’t able to complete one full lap before she was rear ended by a fellow driver, damaging her car enough to put her out of the race. Tatiana ended race two with a DNF.
Sunday was a new day for Calderon and she was prepared to gain more positions following her not so lucky Saturday. Tatiana knew that starting 25th meant getting out of the rear of the field as soon as possible. When the race commenced she had a great fist two laps, moving all the way up to P18 before the safety car was deployed on lap 2. As the race went underway she had an impressive battle with both the #36 Motopark driver, Sam Macleod and the #8 Van Amersfoort driver, Alessio Lorandi. While battling Tatiana lost positions and moved back to P21 but it wasn’t long before she climbed back up, picking off at least one driver every lap. With a clean smooth race under her belt, Tatiana finished P15.
“It’s been a difficult weekend, we didn’t quite have the pace. We tried some different set up changes that went in the wrong direction and then again got hit in one of the races and got an unfair drive through penalty. Finally on the third race we manage to stay out of trouble and had a normal race to finished P15. We have some work to do with the car before Nurburgring, I’m very much looking forward to it!”
Although the race weekend did not start out as positive as Tatiana had hoped, she finished it off strong and never gave up even when positions where lost. The next event will take place at the Nurburgring on the 25th-27th of September.