Tatiana Calderón will race around the legendary streets of Monaco for the first time this weekend for the fourth round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship season.
The Alfa Romeo Formula 1 test driver will tackle the famous Monte Carlo street track, which first hosted the Monaco Grand Prix back in 1929, for the first time in her career with her BWT Arden team as she looks to build on the progress she has made in recent F2 rounds.
Monaco’s 3.337km track may be the shortest on the current F1 calendar, but it is often regarded as the most challenging. The Grand Prix itself is considered to be the blue-riband event of the season, forming one leg of the unofficial ‘Triple Crown of motorsport’ along with the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Indianapolis 500.
Famous corners like Sainte-Devote, Casino Square and Tabac pose much the same challenge to drivers today as they did when the layout was first conceived, although a lack of overtaking opportunities makes qualifying position more critical at Monaco than at any other circuit. Unforgiving Armco barriers mean all driver errors are brutally punished.
Monaco’s unusual support programme does not feature F3, or its predecessor series GP3, meaning Tatiana has never previously raced there. She has however visited the glamorous principality in each of the last two years as part of her development driver and test driver duties for the Sauber F1 Team (now Alfa Romeo).
Tatiana is eager to drive the track for the first time, having sampled it extensively on the simulation – and although the Colombian is under no illusions as to the scale of the task that lies ahead, she is optimistic of backing up her strong race performances at Barcelona.
Tatiana Calderón: “I’m super-excited to go to Monaco for the first time to drive. For the last two years I’ve been there with Alfa Romeo Racing and it’s a great atmosphere; it’s one of the tracks I look forward to visiting the most. I’ve been in the simulator trying to learn the layout – it’s very tight and technical and it will be a big challenge to master it. In the last couple of rounds we’ve made steps forward, so I think we’ve a strong car for the race, but I know at Monaco it will be difficult as it’s my first time and there are lot of experienced people who know the track already. Then again, I also know that anything is possible around those streets, so hopefully we can make a good qualifying and have good pace in the race.”
Monaco’s unusual timetable – which sees the opening F1 practice sessions take place on Thursday – means F2 track action will take place a day earlier than usual.
Due to the short length of the track, qualifying is customarily divided into two groups, with odd-numbered drivers taking part in Group A and even-numbered drivers (which includes Tatiana) taking part in Group B. The grid is then determined by group times rather than overall times, with the pacesetter in the faster group earning pole.
(all times CET and subject to change)
Thursday 22 May
Practice – 09:15
Qualifying (Group A) – 13:20
Qualifying (Group B) – 13:44
Friday 23 May
Race 1 – 11:30
Saturday 24 May
Race 2 – 17:15