Tatiana Calderon, Sauber, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Calderon: Sauber run will help prove women can race in F1

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

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Sauber test driver Tatiana Calderon says her first run in the team’s Formula 1 car on Tuesday is an opportunity to demonstrate women can race in the sport.

Calderon will take over from Antonio Giovinazzi at the end of his Pirelli tyre test on Tuesday for a 100km filming run. She will drive the team’s current car on demonstration tyres.

Speaking in response to a question from RaceFans, Calderon said there were two objectives to the test.

“Obviously [it’s] a promotional thing which is always nice,” she said, “my home country is a few miles away.”

“But [it’s] also to have a first taste, to get used to the steering wheel, to work with the guys, see how I handle the pressure I think as well.

“I am aware that there are a lot of people that doubt if we are physically ready or mentally prepared to drive Formula 1 cars and this is a way of proving that as well. So it has I think many purposes.”

Gaining the respect of people in motor racing can be harder for women, Calderon added.

“Nowadays even if you’re a girl it’s still quite difficult to get sponsorship. I’ve been quite lucky I had a supportive family and I’m part of Escuderia Telmex. But I think regardless of your gender it’s really difficult.

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“We have our strengths and weaknesses and I think of course the publicity and marketing side for a female could be much better than for a guy, doing something different.

“But then on-track with the strength, with gaining the respect of the people your work with and respect on-track it always takes a little bit more time so it’s not always easy being a girl.”

Earlier this month a new six-round championship for female racers called W Series was launched. Calderon believes the concept could help more women reach the upper levels of motor racing but believes they can and should race against men.

“I can only think of my experience. I’ve always been a competitive person. I only want to race against the best regardless of the gender.

“Obviously this new series is happening and I think it will be helpful for some of the girls that are struggling with budgets or want to start to prepare to get competitive against the boys.

“In that sense we need to thank also the organisation if they’re doing the effort you can’t really be against somebody that wants to promote motorsport and female participation. But my view is that we can compete in equal terms.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Calderon: Sauber run will help prove women can race in F1”

  1. How? It doesn’t sound like a back to back, like for like test. How exactly will it show parity?

  2. Giving publicity runs to weak drivers with zero success in lower formulas is demeaning to everyone involved.

    1. nail-head

      1. i hope she doesnt end up under a trailer like last time a woman tried it…


        never gets old…

        1. that is just sick @mysticus. You do know that she first lost an eye to that crash and then died of the afteraffects of that crash, right?

          1. mate i m not mocking María de Villota, also i dont know the real cause of her death as statement about her death said to be caused by the crash, but one year of her crash? neurological causes related to the accident, but it sounded like to honor her and attribute it to the accident as she was found in a hotel room alone!

            my joke was generic and not specific! yeah i get it, it sounds tasteless and sick to some if you spin it and take the whole thing as one! i didnt say both sentences as one, certainly not meant to hurt your others’ feeling, if it did, than sorry…

        2. Seriously poor taste. Sad.

  3. Yes, cruising around for 100KM with Pirelli tires made for demonstration only, without anyone else running with the same car and same conditions, will totally prove women can race in F1. Makes sense.

    There is no doubt women can race in F1. Just find a girl with the skill level of at least a Palmer, Ericsson or even Hartley, and everything will get in place. Teams and sponsors are crazy to have a woman in F1, as is Liberty. It would make rain money, just see Danica in the US. The only bit missing is the girl with the minimum amount of talent, she will have a much easier path to F1 than a dude with the same exact talent.

    The other way to have a woman in F1 is the Stroll way. Does Lance have a sister?

  4. Sometimes this get tiresome.

  5. Johnny Appleseed
    27th October 2018, 18:39

    If there was a woman who was quick enough to win a championship they would be in formula 1 now. Teams only care about winning which brings in brand visibility and money. The only thing this is trying to do is gain the money and brand visibility without winning anything or a driver who is even quick. The women only series will not last long either if they run the same tracks on the same weekend as the GP3 cars if they are noticeably slower. And if the FIA quietly allows the more power than GP3 to offer a better chance for the women it will only continue do a disservice to them as F2 teams and F1 teams will likely not give them drives to test roles. Best thing for women in the sport is to train against the best regardless of who or what gender they are. Race the best and beat the best, that is the road to F1. Or in Lance Strolls case just have a wealthy father I suppose!!

    1. Simona De Silvestro. happy? she is quick enough to win championships, but is now racing in Australian V8 supercars instead of F1. She was beating F1 drivers when racing in Indycars. now SHUTUP.

      1. Johnny Appleseed
        27th October 2018, 20:51

        If she was quick enough to be in the car she would be!! End of story!!

        1. Johnny Appleseed
          27th October 2018, 21:17

          Also Simona De Silvestro never won a race in Indycar and never finished the season higher than 13th on points at the end of a year. That is not exactly a statement that is screaming “F1 Drive”. Her best result was the only time she finished second in Huston in 2013 so again if she was quick enough she would have been given a drive! Danica never finished higher than 5th on points in Indycar and only one the one race in Japan in 2008. It would be nice to see more women in motorsport but we need them in these categories consistently beating everyone else regardless of gender!!!

  6. These stories Always remind me of that Futurama Episode where Leela becomes a Major League Baseball player

  7. I am sometimes wondering whether women in motorsport are held back by “being a woman”. By that I do not mean their gender, but the fact that they are constantly being asked to represent said gender as a whole (implicitly being held responsible for the sportive future of ~3.5 billion human beings) and in doing so are propelled into positions far beyond their capability too early. Susie Wolff, for example, made her entire career on the back of this, getting DTM drives and Formula 1 one test runs despite being miles behind the competition.

    Maybe this W Series thing actually will help with that a bit because you are not asked to fight for gender equality, but merely asked to race as fast as you can (if they are smart about it and don’t go “Look at us, we can race too” after every race). All I know is that, if I were a father with a daughter who was looking to make it big in F1 (or a sports agent with a female client), I would advise her to refuse to entertain any media suggestion that she represents women as a whole. Maybe the solution to make it as a woman in racing is to be a little more selfish and ignore your fellow women.

    1. The W series could have solved at least part of their problem by simply modifying their plan and saying “we’re creating a competition where each of the teams have two cars, one driven by a man and one by a woman”. Then women could get a decent opportunity in motorsport AND there would be no element of segregation etc with a level playing field competition. Any women competing well in that series would be taken very seriously.

      But the problem with women in F1 is much more fundamental than that. Look at all the up and coming F1 drivers today. They’re all ridiculously young. What does that mean? They’re all sitting in go-karts at the age of 5 or whatever and competing at a decent level not much older than that in order to be making it all the way to F1 by 18, 19, 20. Indeed that’s true of probably most of the grid now, not just the new stars. How many parents are putting their girls in go-karts at that age? How many girls are in go-kart competitions?

      For every Norris or Russell finally climbing the last rung of the ladder to F1, there is roughly 10-20 drivers in F2 who don’t make it, more in GP3 who don’t make it, even more in international F3, even more in national F3, even more in single seaters below F3 even more in world championship go-karts, even more in national level go-karts, etc.

      Basically you can model it as a survival analysis. You start off with probably thousands, tens of thousand of kids (?) in the lowest rung of go-karting and filter the numbers down and down and down all the way up through the motorsport ladder until you get to Charlie Bucket who wins the Willy Wonka F1 chocolate factory by being the last kid standing from all that competition.

      The problem is actually getting the numbers of people in at the bottom of the system for genuine talent to emerge on merit through it. Until you’ve got, say at least 10-15% of that throughput of go-karting kids being girls (so that a reasonable proportion make it up to national F3, to international F3 or to GP3, to F2 etc.) there’s no realistic likelihood of a sustainable, regular female presence in F1 on any sort of sensible merit.

      You might get the odd individual who works their way through but the harsh reality is most people who attempt to make it to F1 fail. If you want women in F1 on merit you need lots of women who tried and failed to make it. That’s true for men too.

      As far as I can tell all anyone’s hoping for at the moment with a female F1 driver is that someone will miraculously appear ready for F1 from basically thin air as far as I can tell. People like Wolff and Calderon actually undermine their argument by just plain not remotely having the careers to justify a race drive in F1. Calderon is only just now getting semi-regularly into the minor points placings in GP3 after 3 full seasons, which does not scream “likely F1 career path” and would not be any different if those were the results of a man.

  8. all the comments above me are from men… think about that, these comments read so retarded and biased. these so called men probably have a girlfriend of wife, I sincerely pray that they do not talk down their next of kin in the way they talk down female motorsport drivers. This demo by Sauber is NOTHING BUT POSITIVE for female racing drivers. who cares how fast she will go, that is not the point in equality, judgement needs to stop from males.

    1. Johnny Appleseed
      27th October 2018, 21:03

      So angry!! Lol. Equality is the quickest person wins the race regardless of gender. Teams want to win regardless of gender. If there was a woman capable of beating any one of the current lineup of drivers shy of the pay drivers she would be in one of those seats. That’s the point! How does it help women in motor sport to put one in a car and prove no level of competitiveness. What Sauber should do is post her simulator lap times against their two drivers and all of their other sim drivers to prove her level of competitiveness. Also she is currently in 16th in GP3 with Jenzer Motorsport and was 18th last year with DAMS who are a very good team. That would do more for female drivers than anything else.

      1. No point in arguing with SJW when they are triggerred mate. The thing is women have tried to compete with men in a variety of sports now and i haven’t heard of a single woman player who dominated or won her match against a male player. Serena williams was destroyed by a sub 200 ranked male tennis player. If a talented woman comes along, I’d be game for it. But throwing in untalented woman just for the sake of diversity is ridiculous. It’s sad that it is happening everywhere right now. Everything should be based on merit. No gender is important. Nothing is important except talent and hardwork.

  9. I guess they can’t use proper tyres (for example, that left unused from previuos races) because that would be ilegal testing . Am i right?

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