Profile of the next generation of female motor racing drivers Tatiana Calderon
Tatiana Calderon won the series in 2011 and 2012
Tatiana Calderon’s first words when coming out of the shower on the first day of a Formula 3 race?
“I realised that there were girls at my front.”
Calderon has never stopped succeeding since. Now 17, she has won a world championship, and is chasing more victories in the F3 class with Caterham this season.
Calderon was educated in Switzerland but her journey to the cockpit of a car started in Chile.
She was driven by her father, Guillermo, from the family’s hometown of San Pedro de Atacama into the mountains to the small factory that manufactures Formula BMW engines.
“When we grew up, we didn’t know many people who were into motor racing,” says Calderon.
“It was a guy world and you couldn’t imagine that girls could race. My mother, being an engineer, encouraged me to get involved in motor racing.
“She bought me my first BWM, where I got lots of compliments and lots of them were about my looks. At first I was not interested, I didn’t think it was a good idea.
“But I couldn’t deny that there was a growing female fanbase in Chile and abroad, and I was already doing the family thing, like my father – let’s do it.
“I wanted to keep my independence and have control over my life, so that I could enjoy my life, to live how I want and not to worry about anyone else.
“I never thought I would be a race driver. I thought I would be a normal girl.
“I wasn’t interested in sports at school. Then I realised that this is something I love, to go fast and be free.
“I didn’t want to do it because I looked cool and had good clothes and boots.
“There was a sense of relief in doing it because it was one thing I could have done for myself and that didn’t allow me to worry about other people.
“Women can’t expect to compete for anything at all, so I worked for myself first.”
Calderon won two titles in her maiden season in Formula BMW
Calderon came to the attention of people in motor racing when she became a surprise winner of the drivers’ championship in 2011. She won a second title the following year.
Despite motorsport being dominated by men, she has never had any doubters.
“It’s very difficult to win a championship in F3,” says Calderon. “After a season there are always rumours about the drivers, whether you are better than some others or not.
“I was very nervous for the 2011 championship but when I saw people like Nigel Mansell commentating I was happy I could race against such a legendary driver.
“That was great and they said it was great for me and it boosted my confidence.
“Since then, it’s very difficult to win another championship. But I know I can be a champion.”