Tatiana Calderón showed glimpses of her potential during last weekend’s FIA Formula 2 Championship round in Baku, but a technical problem robbed her of the chance to score points.
The Alfa Romeo Formula 1 test driver led two laps during Saturday’s feature race as she profited from an alternative strategy, only for her BWT Arden car to let her down 10 laps from the finish.
That failure compromised her starting position for Sunday’s reverse-grid sprint race, which unfortunately ended on the opening lap for Tatiana as she collided with the Trident machine of Ralph Boschung and picked up terminal damage.
Getting to grips with the notoriously tricky Baku street track for the first time, Tatiana made steady progress throughout Friday’s limited on-track running, but qualifying on the harder medium-compound tyre meant she could only manage 18th on the grid.
That became a pitlane start when Tatiana stalled on the dummy grid, although this at least meant she was out of harm’s way for the traditional chaotic start and was able to begin progressing up the order as her supersoft-shod rivals all pitted to change their rapidly-degrading rubber.
The Colombian hit the front of the field on lap eight, and while she was powerless to hold off her rivals on newer tyres, she was holding her own in the points-paying positions when a safety car period gave her the chance to pit without losing as much time as she would have done normally.
Sadly, for her and the Arden team, an alternator problem that caused Tatiana to stop on track denied her a strong opportunity to finish inside the top eight.
The early crash in the sprint race capped off a frustrating weekend, and a penalty for causing the incident means the 26-year-old heads to the next round in Barcelona facing a three-place grid drop.
Tatiana Calderón: “Overall it was a quite difficult weekend. It’s a shame about Race 1 because we had a different strategy and we won’t ever know where I would have finished. But without the technical problem, I think a top-eight was definitely possible and it would have changed things for Race 2. But there’s no excuse for the crash. I had a really good start from 17th on the grid and I overtook quite a few cars into Turn 1. I misjudged the braking in Turn 2, I locked up and then I was a passenger from that point on. Taking the positives, our race pace is quite good and hopefully now that we go to Europe, where we know the tracks more, we can score our first points of the season.”
Tatiana will be back in F2 action for the third round of the championship at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, home of the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix, on May 10-12.