Tatiana Calderón began her Formula 2 career with a pair of solid finishes in last weekend’s opening round of the 2019 season in Bahrain. The Alfa Romeo Formula 1 test driver was making her debut in the grand prix feeder championship at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, having signed a deal to contest this year’s championship with the BWT Arden squad.
After a tough start to the weekend, the 26-year-old Colombian came away with a 13th-place finish in Saturday’s opening race before finishing 15th in Sunday’s second race.
Although Tatiana was able to get six days of testing under her belt at Jerez and Barcelona in the run-up to her first weekend, the conditions she faced in Bahrain were very different to those she had faced previously, with tyre preservation proving the biggest challenge.
Qualifying in 19th place for the first race, Tatiana was able to better manage her tyre degradation while other drivers faced difficulties in making their rubber last long enough. In the closing stages, she made good use of fresher tyres as she climbed to 13th place by the chequered flag.
“I think overall it was a positive weekend, even though practice and qualifying were quite difficult. I was struggling a little bit to feel the grip. But we showed we had good race pace and that we have a good car for the race, which is important. We managed the pitstop and the tyre degradation really well in Race 1 to come back to P13, and then to be honest in the second race we were not sure whether to pit or not. In the end we tried to save the tyres and make it to the end. Our pace on the prime tyre was probably a bit too slow to gain positions, so we need to analyse that and hopefully come back stronger for the rest of the season. But, in many ways, it has definitely been a positive start,” reflected Tatiana.
Starting from the same position for Sunday’s shorter sprint race – in which the field was split on whether to stop for new tyres – Tatiana dropped back in the early stages, but she was able to claw back some of the lost ground as others hit trouble and finally finish 15th.
It was a valuable learning experience for the Bogota-born, Madrid-domiciled rising star, who can take away many positives from her first weekend of F2 competition. The next round of Tatiana’s F2 campaign with BWT Arden will be at the Baku City Circuit, host of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, on April 26-28.
Photographs by Motorpics.de