Interview with Tatiana Calderón, DAMS, Valencia GP3 Testing
25 April 2017
Tony Hall: Tatiana how, are you adapting to this year’s GP3 car with the addition of DRS (Drag Reduction System) and VSC (Virtual Safety Car)?
Tatiana Calderón: Well, I think it is very interesting and a bit different from last year, especially with more down force due to the new rear wing. I think the DRS has made a huge difference to the car and we will probably see more action during the races, which I think is the aim. It also makes the car much closer to a 3.5 litre car. I haven’t tested a GP2 car but I think it feels like one with the downforce we have, it is really good. So a step forward there. VSC seems to be a step forward from before and will stop cheating, it is GP2 specification and it seems to be working better here than in Barcelona.
TH: What about tyre degradation? More or less with the new rear wing?
TC: Yes, I think there will be less from what we have seen so far in testing.
TH: Tatiana, when we spoke last year, you said and I quote “my dream has always been to reach Formula One”. You are pretty close now as development driver for Sauber F1. How does that make you feel?
TC: Of course, I am very proud to be part of such a team, 25 years in Formula One, it is their 25th anniversary this year. I think they have seen the potential in me and they have opened the door to make me a better driver and that is all you can wish for – to have the opportunity. Now it is up to me to make the most of this opportunity and learn as much as I can and prove that I deserve more.
TH: Are you looking forward to trying out for the first time the Sauber F1 simulator?
TC: Yes, absolutely, hopefully in the next two weeks but before Barcelona. I am in contact with the Sauber engineers after every test. They keep an eye on my progress so I can improve in different areas. It is very positive for me because they really care and have opened the door and given me a lot of information.
TH: Is there any prospect that we will see you getting a test in a Sauber F1 car soon?
TC: Maybe, but not soon. It is up to me to prove myself so I can get the chance. My goal has to be to focus on GP3, then if it happens, it would be later in the year, like the end of the year probably.
TH: Tatiana, I do not mean to be personal but you do look a lot fitter than last year when we talked, is that because you have a personal trainer?
TC: Yes, for sure. Fitness is very important and especially with the new regulations in Formula One and the new wing here in GP3. It makes races more demanding and if the opportunity arises you have to be ready, therefore I want to step up my fitness to help in GP3.
TH: What about car setup this year? Is it more difficult with the new rear wing?
TC: It has been difficult, especially as I have changed teams from Arden to DAMS and also because there are different ways of working. That is why we do testing – to really see what areas on the car we need to improve. Also, the communication with the team. They need to know my style and to adapt the car to how it best suits me. We are in that process and improving all the time. The second day of testing in Barcelona was pretty good for me and tomorrow here in Valencia I hope to be much quicker, especially as we kept back some new sets of tyres. So yes, hopefully tomorrow it will be much better.
TH: Last season you ended the year with 2 points and some good races under your belt. What is your main objective for this season in GP3?
TC: Obviously to improve from last year and be right up there and do some good races. That is what got me my Sauber F1 deal. Consistency and to be up there fighting. I definitely need to show what I can do.
TH: Thank you Tatiana, it has been good to talk to you again and all of us at Iberianmph.com wish you a successful season in GP3 and at Sauber F1 and we look forward to talking to you again soon.
Tony (photography by Diego Merino and Tony)