Tatiana Calderon, Sauber, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Calderon to become first woman to race in F2

Formula Two

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Tatiana Calderon will become the first woman to race in the current Formula 2 championship after announcing a deal to race for Arden this year.

Calderon, who tested an F2 car in Abu Dhabi at the end of last season, will step up to the series having raced in GP3 for the last three years which included a stint with Arden in 2016.

The multiple Colombian karting champion finished runner-up in the 2015-16 MRF Challenge series. However in three years of GP3 her best championship finish was 16th with Jenzer last year.

“I’m very excited to compete in the FIA F2 Championship with Team BWT Arden in technical partnership with HWA Racelab,” said Calderon.

“It’s a new challenge in my career and a step closer to my ultimate goal to reach Formula 1,” she added. “Can’t wait for testing to start next week.”

Last year Calderon had her first run in a Formula 1 car in a filming day for Sauber at the Autodrmo Hermanos Rodriguez. She also did two days of testing in the team’s 2012 car at Fiorano.

The current Formula 2 championship replaced the GP2 series which ran between 2005 and 2016. Neither has had any female competitors during this time. However the previous Formula 2 championship, which ran between 2009 and 2012, was contested by Natacha Gachnang and Natalia Kowalska.

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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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68 comments on “Calderon to become first woman to race in F2”

  1. I’m very excited to compete in the FIA F2 Championship with Team BWT Arden in technical partnership with HWA Racelab

    Could it be in preparation for FE?

    1. She did do the test with Techeetah in Saudi Arabia this year and was pretty competitive by looking at the times.
      I’ll be watching with interest to see how she gets on. All the best to her!

    2. Or replacing Checo at Racing Point ;-)

    3. F2 to FE is a step backwards in my view, her target must be F1 and I wish her all the best.

      1. Montréalais (@)
        22nd February 2019, 18:08

        Absolutely agree, Kevin. I wish her the best as well. I’d love to see her in an F1 car!

      2. How is F2 to FE a backwards step? FE drivers are actually paid to drive. F2 drivers pay to drive. F2 is the very definition of a feeder series.

        1. HWA need to improve though. Given the Mercedes backing they probably will but still…

  2. So, 16th after 3 years in GP3, and moving up from there in a year when Euro F3 & GP3 are merging into one series, which should make her position even more difficult than normal to be promoted from. It smells strongly of Arden going for the headlines with some reverse discrimination.

    1. Its called positive discrimination I think and sometimes its needed. A mixed grid both in terms of cars and gender and race may stop it being the middle class white man club it has been for its entire existence. Sport needs role models

      1. positive discrimination

        There is no such thing.

        1. There is no such thing.

          Google, and multiple dictionaries, prove you mistaken.

    2. @bealzbob Yes, unfortunately she is not being promoted solely on merit, something that has always been the case with male drivers. We see this quite clearly with elite drivers such as Stroll, Palmer, Maldonado, Ericsson, Gutiérrez, Haryanto, Stevens, and many more. (end sarcasm)

      1. I got the sarcasm Gilberto (@gsagostinho) ;)

      2. Stroll is f3 champion, palmer is gp2 champion, maldonado is gp2 and lmp2 champion and f1 race winner, ericsson is mid pack finisher in gp2 and national f3 champion, gutierrez is gp3 champion and third finisher in gp2. Calderon has never won anything and her only reason to be in f2 is to be a token female. You make a joke but you never checked any of the drivers you quoted as being bad.

        1. @socksolid Juan Manuel Correa, her team mate in GP3 last year and who will also be racing in F2 this year, has not achieved a single podium nor win in his GP3 time. What makes Calderon’s record come to question but not Correa’s (besides for their respective genders)? Other examples from the 2018 GP3 season: Niko Kari was promoted to F2 during the season despite not achieving a single podium that year, Devlin DeFrancesco has raced on both GP3 and Formula 3 despite not having scored a single point, Julien Falchero got to race twice at European Le Mans Series despite not scoring a single point in GP3 in 2018. Again, all these examples are from just last year. So are you sure that Calderon is really noteworthy as an example of a driver being promoted while not reaching the best results?

          1. It was third season just racing for correa. Calderon has done 10 seasons of f3 and gp3. Niko kari did 4 races less than calderon. Like I said earlier calredon has never won anything. All your other drivers pretty much have.

          2. @gsagostinho
            maybe you tell me why calderon got an f1 test if she is not noteworthy gp3 driver in your opinion?

          3. @socksolid Tatiana Calderon nearly won the winter MRF Challenge championship. This is rather better than the likes of Kari and Correa have ever done (as in, those two have had some successes but never been in a car racing title fight). Thus Tatiana is in F2 on merit (whether that merit is expected to lead to further promotions or not).

            Also, F2 (and F3/GP3 teams) have a long history of hiring drivers from across the position pool, either to balance budgets or to gain alternative perspectives that can help their expected frontrunner to fight for the title. This promotion potentially makes sense from either perspective, regardless of the pure merit involved.

          4. @alianora-la-canta
            You can not just pick one series out of the 10 series she has done. She has done 10 years of gp3 and f3 at this point with very poor results. Correa did better on his first season than calderon has ever done on her 10 seasons.

            Like I’ve said earlier. It is a massive benefit to be a woman in motorsports. Here is tatiana calderon as a proof of that. Despite poor results over her long career she gets to F2 and she has driven formula 1 car. Both of which are impossible targets to a male with similar race record.

          5. @socksolid

            You can not just pick one series out of the 10 series she has done.

            It happens with male racing drivers more often than you apparently wish to admit in the junior series. F1 teams generally wait until a driver is both aligned with their own team in some manner, then look at their results since making that alignment for their racing drivers. However, they also look for test and simulation drivers, which have different criteria.

            Even then, there aren’t anywhere near enough F1-funded F2 seats for the grid to be filled, and other series don’t bother because in the main, a F2 budget would a large chunk of a non-F1 team’s budget. So then you get the “self-funders”. Worse drivers than Tatiana have been promoted this year, but only Tatiana gets complaints.

            Correa had two race results better than Calderon’s. Both came where he scraped into the reverse grid system in high-attrition races where Tatiana was among those attritioned. In all other races, he averaged slightly worse than Tatiana. Further, he got worse over the season (the opposite of what is expected from a rookie) while Tatiana significantly improved (she went from virtually no points scores in the first half of the season to scoring on all but two occasions on the second half). F2 might also have the reverse-grid system… …but F1 doesn’t. Which tells me Calderon would be the better driver to have in a F1-type situation than Correa. That may be moot because clearly both of them would have to improve a lot to get into the front half of F2 (where F1 drivers generally come from, if they go to F2) but if they scored similar points in a year, Calderon’s better performances in the sort of situations that crop up more often in F1 would be relevant to which of them would be the better prospect for a F1 team.

            Your claim about women having benefit in motorsports is so patently false that I’m surprised that you are making it. Men don’t generally get told that sponsors refuse to take them on because “men don’t care about motorsport”, dropped by sponsors for being successful, crashed into “to show them their place”, asked to drive spec cars designed around “the average human, which we’ve forgotten doesn’t include anyone particularly resembling you in the relevant aspects”*, forced to be “glamour fit” as distinct from “athlete fit” or face misandric comments every time they do something worthwhile. Women, on the other hand, face all of these (apart from the comments, which would be misogynistic due to the term changing name in English according to the gender of the target).

            * – This is part of the reason Tatiana did so much better in MRF Challenge, F2 and Formula E testing than F3 – all of those cars are more adjustable. Spec cars don’t have to exclude half the population before they even start moving.

          6. @alianora-la-canta
            None of that makes any sense at all. Men don’t get f1 tests just because they are men. Calderon got an f1 test and f2 drive just because she is a woman. Men either have to buy those seats with their parent’s money or earn them with results or sponsorship deals. And just like the average commentator you are dealing this matter purely on emotion. Just because I am making critical points about calderon does not automatically make me misogynist. Just like me criticizing stroll and how he bought his f3 title does not mean I hate men.

            All I have said is I have listed her mediocre race results and the fantastic places those poor results have got her. All you are doing is picking the tiniest things and going for the ad hominems when a single look at her race results during 10 years in gp3 and f3 proves she has no speed, no potential but due to her gender she gets f1 tests which is the dream for all single seater drivers. For some male champions those dreams stay dreams. For some 15th place fninsher women they become reality.

            For me it would make no difference at all if she had bought her f1 tests and f2 drives like someone Sean Gelael did. Just to clarify I don’t hate men even if I don’t think sean is very good race car driver. I really don’t! But the way she was picked purely because her gender.. it does annoy me because it does no good for women in motorsports. Calderons and jordas are not the key to success. I want women in f2 and f1 on merit and Michele Mouton more than just proved women can complete on equal footing over almost 40 years ago. When you put these calderons into f1 car you are saying they can’t do it so let’s lower the standards for women so at least we get a token woman in f2 and f1. It also lowers the achiements of the michele moutons in the past who had to fight actual real sexism and did so succesfully. The more women get f1 opportunities because they are women the more people think women can not compete on equal terms because they are getting this preferential treatment.

            We live in an era where fast women have better than men possibilities to win championships and money. All we need is a skilled driver to do that. But average women have already proven they will be super popular as women race car drivers. Danica patrick earned more money and sponsorship in nascar than some championship winning males despite her records being pretty poor in nascar. Her best result in top equipment in nascar? 24th. Yet a superstar. You look at her and tell me a male driver with equal results would have had a better career.

          7. @socksolid Women don’t get tests because they are women, otherwise there’d still be (considerably) more women than vacancies and men would never get a test at all. They have to buy them, earn them, or use one of the other methods men use to obtain such tests. There’s not been any particular secret about that, either for men or women.

            By listing only some of her results, missing off some of her better ones as well as the (probably more indicative) improvement data from the last half-season, a different view emerges than the one that includes the complete set of results and emphasises the most recent performance patterns. Which of those has been more representative of the patterns of people who get promoted (into F2 and F1 alike)?

            As for the rest of the argument… from the information we have thus far been provided, a combination of paying for the seat (which practically everyone in F2 has to do, and those not doing so tend to get announced immediately after whoever’s paying for it), balancing out the driving requirements of a major team (which tends to explain late-off-season choices because the prime candidates would have been picked late last year or in January) and the improved record Tatiana had in the last half of the season and recent testing (which would display the performance element – regular points-scorers in F3 do get promoted whether male or female) would be the most likely explanation for Tatiana’s promotion. If I am to believe your Paragraph 3 argument, @socksolid, that means you should have no complaint about Tatiana’s promotion whatsoever.

          8. @alianora-la-canta
            So tell me why she got that/those f1 tests? She did not buy them and she has no good race results either. Do you think she had got that f1 test if she had not been female? I don’t but you probably do, don’t you?

            She has done about 130 races in F3 with no wins and only less than half a point per race. She has done 51 races in gp3 with no wins and less than 1/4 points per race. She compares extremely poorly to almost all of her team mates. And she still gets f1 tests and f2 drives.

            If I am to believe your Paragraph 3 argument, @socksolid, that means you should have no complaint about Tatiana’s promotion whatsoever.

            It is a different thing to buy a seat OR be given a seat just because the team believes the driver being a woman will earn them more money (more than hiring a pay male driver or competent male driver). The economics of her promotion make lots of sense only because she is a woman. Her poor race results are totally irrelevant. Only thing that matters is her gender because that is the thing that gets her all these f1 tests and f2 drives. This article itself is a proof of that. No other f2 driver get this kind of promotions. And her managers are smart and they taking full benefit of that. There is a lot of money being a woman driver in motorsports and being a woman has given her massive advantage and opportunities that majority of male drivers can only dream of.

            I wish her all the best but she will finish at the back of the grid in f2 just like she has done everywhere else she has raced so far. I’m sure after she has done her 6 races in f2 finishing at the back of the grid she will get to drive f1 car in official practice session. All this for one single reason alone.

          9. @socksolid Are you sure Tatiana didn’t buy those tests? (And given some of the people who have received tests in the past, yes I could have believed it had she been male).

        2. Max Verstappen is only champion in carts (multiple one) had 1 year F3 then F1 so you don’t need to be champion in a lower teir just make a good impression on scouts and you will make it.

          1. Verstappen is multiple f3 race winner and almost won FIA F3 championship on his first attempt. He was blindingly clearly a massive talent at that point.

          2. Max also drove for a mediocre team and massively overperformed compared to their normal results. It was not like Stroll who had a way better car.

        3. Ericsson also had the Qualifying record at Macau 2009-2018

        4. Ericcson is the Japanese F3 champion and multiple gp2 race winner

      3. Haryanto was a Pacific f4 champion if my mind is right, Stevens is just one driver i never noticed nor cared about. Niko Kari must got some talent, after all redbull did pick him up…..and threw him out again but they had eyes for him.

        Calderon is just like Carmen Jorda, big words and no action

    3. @bealzbob OK Brian brought up the topic of discrimination itself, but gender aside it is fair to argue whether a driver whose best result was 16th in 3 years of GP3, deserves a place in F2. This has nothing to do with Calderon herself, any one of us would chase our dreams just like her when the opportunity arose.

      1. Techncially Tatiana’s best result is 2nd in the MRF Challenge. Fewer rounds, but more or less the same equipment. Simply because the FIA doesn’t issue Superlicence for it doesn’t make it less difficult on a per-race basis, nor does it mean involving lesser equipment or driving.

    4. In fairness, she was limited by equipment…and Andreas Jenzer had nothing but praise for her. I wish her the best, although F1 might be out of reach even if she does well, as she is not getting any younger. Than again, Hartley made it to F1 at the age of 28, so one never knows.

  3. Personally, @Bealzbob, I don’t let myself get too worked up over these perceived injustices.

    Motorsport is racked with financial issues. When Perez got support from Mexico due to his marketability, or even Chandock with India, we only complained about the financial issues.

    At the end of the day women face far more disadvantages than advantages. Both in motorsport and society at large. So it’s a bit embarrassing for me when white men get upset over reverse discrimination.

    1. @gongtong I’m only making an observation. Is that still allowed? I only see one person getting upset around here.

      1. @Bealzbob you’re entirely welcome to express your views. In fact, I’m happy to see it done. And sorry if you read my text as angry or upset, this happens when things are down in black and white.

        I believe we shouldn’t shy away from these topics, or worse, simply mud sling terms like ‘sexist’ and ‘racist’ around like many liberals are accused of.

        We won’t make further progress unless we invite everybody to be part of the conversation and try to address their fears.

        1. I read your own response I a somewhat defensive voice. Was I misunderstanding? ;)

        2. Thank you @gongtong , and I completely agree btw. There are many angles to this. Positive and negative ones. As Tony mentions above, sport needs role models and girls will hopefully see her and be inspired, and as you say there are broader financial considerations in racing too which Arden are no doubt aware that her brand/image could help with. Gilberto also says she certainly would not be the first and will not be the last to be promoted on things not relating to merit. I was perhaps a little incendiary by concentrating on the negative element. She’s not there on pace, and the danger with that is that IF (and it is an ‘if’) she does fall flat next season then it could be seen by those who would choose to interpret it that way as being another example of ‘women can’t cut it at that level’. What we definitely DO need is a woman winning F3 or F3.5 Renault etc. I know the new formula specifically for women has already been much maligned by some, but I think one definite positive from it will be the opportunity that it provides for those who would otherwise not have gotten one, and if we can unearth a genuine gem from that series and get them to put some manners on the lads then that, in my opinion, would be a far more powerful role model and a much more important development overall.

          1. @bealzbob I too hope so. I think we already are seeing strong progress in that area. Already women seem too be climbing the ladder higher and higher on merit. The positive discrimination is imo less pronounced these days. As is pay driver status overall.

            The previous females who made it to F1 were far less qualified than some some of today’s karting champions!

          2. Exactly. There might be something to be said for putting in the best woman possible, even if she’s not “objectively qualified”, as a role model for future women racers who are even better.

        3. @gongtong I’m all for that, though there is still a long road ahead. I guess there is barely more women here as there are female F1 drivers. But with time, it will eventually come who knows.

    2. Women in motor racing have it much easier than men. Just look at the percentage of female drivers in f3 who have got some kind of formula 1 chance. It is more than half despite none of them having any good race results. If anything being a female in motorsport is a huge bonus to your career. Just imagine danica’s career had she been a male. Nobody would have heard of him.

      I can’t find my earlier post but I did a small analysis sometime ago and looked at past f3 and gp3 drivers and I found that almost all female f3 and gp3 drives who have done full season at that level get an f1 opportunity of some kind. Males can win championships left and right and nobody cares.

      1. @socksolid This one has good results in other series using similar equipment, to the point where she’s better-qualified than several other people promoted alongside her, yet I don’t see anyone carping about the likes of Kari and Correa getting promoted.

        That tells me right away that your premise is false.

    3. @gongtong Especially when it’s not even reverse discrimination – men with worse records have been promoted this year. She can contribute something of genuine merit to her F2 team, and that is ultimately what meritocracy is about (promoting people on the basis of what they can give teams – and us – in the higher position).

  4. Good luck to her. As with any race driver you also need a good car to get results, if she has a good car, I think she will get good results. I anticipate a lot of male commentators will hate on her more than they do on male pay drivers (who always get a better seat than a woman in junior series) but the world is getting better, and old right wing nazis are slowly dieing off.

    1. As with any race driver you also need a good car to get results, if she has a good car, I think she will get good results.

      I don’t follow F2 so I could be wrong, but don’t they use a spec car? Or are you referring to setup?

      1. In every spec series, certain teams (ie with most money) still come to the fore, there is still lots of room to change things.

  5. Clear example of ‘positive’ discrimation. A male driver would have never gotten their, cause her results simply are terrible.

    So yeah, W Series really needed…

    1. Stop that, there are plenty of terrible male drivers that have race seats they don’t deserve, far more than this one women, who could be great in f2. Do you hate women? Go single out every male driver in every race series that doesn’t deserve a race in the same way you just did, seriously, do it right now as a response to this message, otherwise you come across as a typical right wing white man misogynist. You Are judging her because she is a woman, especially with that positive discrimination drivel, what a stupid hateful, derogatory terminlogy.

      1. Stop that, there are plenty of terrible male drivers that have race seats they don’t deserve, far more than this one women, who could be great in f2. Do you hate women? Go single out every male driver in every race series that doesn’t deserve a race in the same way you just did, seriously, do it right now as a response to this message, otherwise you come across as a typical right wing white man misogynist. You Are judging her because she is a woman, especially with that positive discrimination drivel, what a stupid hateful, derogatory terminlogy.

        I think you’re missing the point (you seem overly angry). Gender is not his issue, results are, and the highest she has finished in a lower series, was 16th in championship. Male or female that’s poor and he was judging her on results not gender. Which is what he meant to say (although not very well).

        Claiming someone hates women because they have a sporting opinion is pretty bad though.

        1. @Jett In turn, you are missing kpcart’s point that F2 takes rather more than results into consideration when promoting anyone, and therefore forcing them to only consider results when considering women constitutes discrimination. Men can and frequently do get promoted on bases other than results. In particular, it’s no secret that F2 is pay-to-play at the back half of the grid.

          1. @alianora-la-canta Thanks for your comment. I didn’t miss the point, I understand the politics, I also understand that she is a role-model to younger (and perhaps older) females, racers or not, and I get why, and good for her and them.

            but my comments were specifically targeted at the person who accused a poster of hating women because he made a SPORTING comment regards her results, and quite rightly so, said that she didn’t do very well in F3 from a championship point of view. I just tried to point that out.

            Yes men do get promoted on more than results and I’m not disputing that at all, we just need to keep in context people’s comments and not let things run wild, especially on this kind of topic.

          2. @jett We know Tatiana didn’t win the title. We also know that you are analysing her performances differently from how men’s performances are generally analysed (in part, because you only took some of her performances into account).

          3. @alianora-la-canta

            We know Tatiana didn’t win the title. We also know that you are analysing her performances differently from how men’s performances are generally analysed (in part, because you only took some of her performances into account)

            You seem hell-bent on criticising everything I say, the problem is you’re not actually reading my posts correctly. It was NOT myself who analysed her, I simply stated that another poster (tedmosby) had done so and I made a comment on that.

          4. @jett In which case, please could you explain what it is you believe I am not seeing?

  6. Whether we like it or not professional sports are part of the wider entertainment business. Good marketing can be as important as good results. (Noone even knows what Rich Energy is – but it’s generated publicity none the less!).
    Women in sport always seems to be such an emotive issue. Ultimately the teams will do what they want. It’s nice to see new people given a chance at least.
    We should all just chill and enjoy the racing. Support whoever you wanna support. Peace :-)

  7. No I’m judging her based on her junior series results.

    The fact that guys like Stroll, Maldonado etc when through to the highest rank is also solely down to money.

    Money female drivers get through sponsorship if they dont totally embarrass themselves in junior categories. Women are a scarce goodnin motorsports, the moment one does decently, they will be able to secure sponsorships a lot easier (because they are more unique for companies) then men.

    In the end you just judge a driver on his or her results when the visor goes down. And hers are crap. I love women, but hate unequal treatment and positive discrimination and therefor don’t think she deserves a F2 seat. But good for her of course , I’m sitting on a couch most Sunday race days, and she’s on track haha.

    1. The fact that guys like Stroll, Maldonado etc when through to the highest rank is also solely down to money.

      Guys like Stroll and Maldonado have far, far better results in junior categories than she does. Those guys actually won championships in lower formula. Her best result is 16th.

      1. @kingshark They also had considerably more backing than Tatiana (as in, many multiples more funding than her) – especially Stroll and Maldonado.

  8. I can understand all the reasons of calling this is a positive discrimination. But I still hope she’ll do her best and have a good season in F2.

    1. Your comment is like a ray of sunshine in a depressing comment section.

      1. Indeed depressing this comment section.
        I hope she does well.

  9. Interested to see what she can do – she might even surprise a few people. Maybe her F3 hardware wasn’t the best, and Arden will give her a chance to be competitive. Time will tell.

  10. Jamie Chadwick deserves to be in F2. Now she has to take the long way to go through W Series first…

    1. @dutchtreat I would certainly agree with you there.

    2. @dutchtreat @alianora-la-canta Jamie Chadwick is fantastic; great natural talent. Tatiana Calderon I don’t know, so I can’t comment, but I take her promotion as a positive for motorsport.

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