Tatiana Calderón came away from the sixth round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship season in Austria feeling optimistic after a battling display in the second race.
With the help of her BWT Arden team, the Alfa Romeo F1 test driver was able to improve her feeling at the wheel around the Red Bull Ring and get her campaign back on track after a difficult pair of races at Paul Ricard the previous weekend.
The weekend didn’t start auspiciously for Tatiana, as she could manage no better than 20thin qualifying on Friday. In Saturday’s opening race, the Colombian opted for a long first stint on the harder soft compound tyres, unlike most of her rivals, but the high temperatures made tyre preservation tough and she gradually slid down the order as drivers with fresher rubber were able to overtake her before she pitted with 10 of the 40 laps remaining.
That left Tatiana in 18that the finish, which became 17thwhen Campos driver Arjun Maini was disqualified. That dictated her starting position for Sunday’s second race, but regardless she was forced to start the encounter from the pitlane after stalling on the grid.
Despite that setback, Tatiana persevered and was able to keep her set of soft compound tyres in better shape than several drivers ahead of her. This paid off when the safety car was deployed late in the race to retrieve the stricken Carlin car of Louis Deletraz, bunching up the pack and allowing Tatiana to go on the attack in the closing stages.
Although she lost out to a couple of drivers who took the gamble of pitting under the safety car, Tatiana clawed her way up from 17thto 13thby the time of the chequered flag, proving the changes that she and her team made overnight have put her back on the right path.
Tatiana Calderón: “Overall it was a difficult weekend. Although qualifying was a bit better than in Paul Ricard, we still didn’t find the right balance to be fully comfortable in the car. In the first race we had decent pace, we started with the prime tyre and then finished on the option, but I was suffering a little bit from locking and maybe overheating the tyres in the first stint, although at least we managed to fight for positions at the end. In the second race I stalled on the grid, and starting from the pitlane was not ideal. We did some changes in the
car, I found a much better balance and I had really good pace. Thanks to the safety car at the end I caught up the group and I could fight with a lot of people. That was positive and hopefully we can build on this good feeling going to Silverstone in two weeks’ time.”
Tatiana will kick off the second half of her F2 campaign at the historic Silverstone Circuit, home of the F1 British Grand Prix, on July 12-14.