Tatiana Calderón endured another character-building weekend in the penultimate round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship season at the Sochi Autodrom.
The Alfa Romeo F1 test driver again finished outside of the points in both races at the Russian track during what was largely an event to forget for her BWT Arden team. A lack of track time in Friday’s 45-minute free practice session set the tone for things to come, leaving Tatiana with a tough job ahead in qualifying – the Colombian driver managing only 18th on the grid for the opening race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon. Starting on the faster supersoft tyre, Tatiana briefly breached the top 10 before making her pitstop on lap 7 of 28 to switch to the medium tyre. Setting her fastest lap of the race in the closing stages as she settled in on the more durable rubber, she was able to steadily improve to 15th place by the finish. The second race on Sunday morning was red-flagged almost immediately after a major crash at Turn 2 involving Nikita Mazepin and Nobuharu Matsushita, both of whom mercifully escaped any serious injury. A lengthy delay followed as marshals extracted Matsushita and rebuilt the damaged barriers. Once the race got underway in earnest, Tatiana struggled for pace and fell back to 17th, later gaining one position following Mick Schumacher breaking down to conclude the weekend in 16th. Tatiana Calderón: “Overall it was another difficult weekend. We had a few issues in free practice, we could only complete three laps, and going into qualifying we knew it would be difficult to get the references. That said, I was happy to get closer to the pace than I had been in previous rounds. Then starting on the option tyre in race one, we lost quite a lot of time with the pitstop and a few issues coming out of the pits. That’s unfortunate because we had good pace towards the end of the race and I was feeling comfortable with the car. In race two, after the red flag, I didn’t have the grip to hold position. We need to analyse that and hopefully come back stronger for the final round of the season.” Tatiana now has a long break prior to the final round of the F2 season, which will take at the Yas Marina track in Abu Dhabi on November 29-December 1.