Tatiana Calderón concluded her 2022 season with an encouraging showing in the final round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at Abu Dhabi.
Making the fourth and final outing of her return to the Formula 1 support series with the Charouz Racing System team, Tatiana came home for a 20th-place finish in the opening race at the Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday, and 18th place in Sunday’s season-closer.
All in all, it amounted to a satisfactory first weekend back for the Colombian following the injury she sustained in the previous F2 event at Monza, giving her crucial momentum to take into the off-season as she seeks to finalise her 2023 plans.
Tatiana faced the additional challenge of having to ‘re-learn’ a track whose layout had changed considerably since her previous visit in 2019, but adapted well during Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions, despite being hampered by rear brake difficulties.
Lining up 21st on grid for Saturday’s sprint race, Tatiana avoided the chaos of the opening lap, as a collision between her teammate Enzo Fittipaldi and Jehan Daruvala caused the race to be red-flagged. Upholding the honour of Charouz by herself when the action resumed, she settled into a rhythm and brought the car home in 20th place.
Starting on the more durable medium tyre for the feature race, Tatiana steadily climbed her way up the order as other cars ahead made their mandatory tyre change, ascending as high as ninth before coming in for her own stop on lap 16 of 33.
Once on soft tyres, she set a fastest lap virtually identical to that of her teammate Fittipaldi, staying in touch with the pack throughout and picking up places to finish 18th.
Tatiana Calderón: “I’m extremely grateful to have been given a second chance to race in F2, especially because after June I thought my season was over. It’s been a big challenge to go back to some of the tracks I last raced in a single-seater in 2019 and adapt and catch up, but I think our pace in qualifying and in the last race at Abu Dhabi was one of the best of the season. Needless to say it’s still not where I want to be in terms of position, but considering I was also coming back from an injury in Monza, and the fact we had some issues in the sprint race, I have to take it as a positive and I’m pretty sure it will help me a lot for next year. I want to take the opportunity to thank the Charouz team, Karol G, Escuderia Telmex and all my partners for their support, and it was also great to have SUB2r joining us for this final race weekend. I look forward to working together with them in future.”
Tatiana will now get some well-earned rest during the winter break after another long and eventful season. Her 2023 plans will be communicated in due course