Paddock magazine is joined today by Tatiana Calderón, a Colombian professional racing driver who currently competes in the GP3 Series and has just signed a deal with Sauber F1 Team to become their official development driver for 2017.
Full name: Tatiana Calderón Noguera
Date of birth: March 10th, 1993
Place of birth: Bogotá, Colombia
Team: Sauber F1 Team
It’s always good to show the boys what we are capable of.
What was your very first experience of motor racing?
I was nine years old when I went to a local rental go-kart track near my home in Colombia. I tried it and simply loved the speed and adrenaline. I had to convince my parents to buy me a racing kart, but I insisted so much that it didn’t take long for them to let me race. Since that very moment my love for the sport grows every day.
How did you finance your early years?
I’ve been extremely lucky to have a very supporting and loving family. Without them I couldn’t be where I am today. In the early years it was extremely hard to get any sponsors as you have absolutely no visibility. Now I have support by Telmex and I am truly thankful for that.
One of the biggest challenges for every driver is to attract sponsorship. What is your recipe for success?
I think it might be about just being yourself: telling your story, sharing it with the world and finding brands that want to give and promote the same messages and values.
How do you deal with the competition on the track?
On track you have no friends, you are on your own trying to extract the maximum out of yourself and the car. It’s not always easy to be a female in a sport that has been dominated by men. You have to be strong and show the guys you are there to compete on equal terms. At the beginning, it’s difficult to gain that respect, but with time you keep on showing your abilities and you can do it.
What are your most important career highlights?
I have had some amazing moments throughout my career: my first karting championship in Colombia; being the first and only female to win the Stars of Karting Championship in the US; standing on the podium of the British F3 Championship and, more recently, being vice-champion of the MRF Challenge in 2016.