Tatiana Calderón will take a step closer towards Formula 1 in 2016 as she joins forces with the title-winning Arden International team to tackle the GP3 Series.
Situated two rungs below F1 on the single-seater ladder, GP3 has acted as a launchpad for a host of young drivers to achieve success in Grand Prix racing – including former champions Esteban Gutierrez, Valtteri Bottas and Daniil Kvyat – and with three years of European Formula 3 experience now under her belt, Tatiana now aims to join this illustrious roll of honour racing in the F1 paddock for the first time.
The news follows on from the Colombian’s successful GP3 test outing in Abu Dhabi in December, when she recorded the ninth fastest time of the second day in a car co-ran by Status Grand Prix and DAMS, also gaining valuable experience of the nuances of the Pirelli tyres the series uses.
In 2016, the 22-year-old will be working with one of GP3’s most successful teams – Arden International took Mitch Evans to championship success in 2012, before defending its title the following season with Kvyat, who has since progressed to F1 with the Scuderia Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing teams. The Oxfordshire-based Arden team can also boast an enviable record elsewhere in single-seaters, most notably in GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5.
At Arden, Tatiana joins fellow rookies Jake Dennis – also graduating from F3 – and Jack Aitken, the reigning champion in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup series. She will be racing the all-new Dallara GP3/16 machine, which replaces the outgoing GP3/13 she tested in Abu Dhabi.
Tatiana Calderón: “For sure GP3 is a step forward in my career, also a step closer to F1 in many different ways and It’s a great opportunity for me to make this move up the ladder with a top team like Arden. All the experience I’ve gained in European F3 is definitely going to help me quickly make the transition to racing a more powerful car against some tough competition and with more limited running during the race weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed testing last year´s car in December and I can´t wait to drive the new one and start working together with Arden.”
Julian Rouse, Arden General Manager: “It’s great to have Tatiana racing with us this season. She participated in the GP3 tests in Abu Dhabi and seemed to adapt to the car really well, setting some very competitive lap times on performance runs. Coming off the back of a strong run to second place in the MRF Challenge series over the winter, I’m sure her confidence will be high, and it will be good to try and keep that momentum going.”
The 2016 GP3 calendar has yet to be finalised, but as in previous years, all events will be held in support of F1 Grands Prix. Three pre-season test sessions take place prior to the start of the season, the first of which will be held at the Estoril circuit in Portugal on 22-24 March.