Tatiana Calderon gives 2023 plans update after IndyCar stint

Calderon was signed up to race a third car for AJ Foyt Racing this season on all the road and street course events, but was only able to make seven of her planned 12 outings before her entry was withdrawn due to ROKiT failing to come up with promised funding.

It meant July’s Mid-Ohio race was the Colombian’s last race in the series, with a 15th-place finish at the Indianapolis Road Course standing as her best result.

Looking back on her part-campaign in the series, Calderon believes she managed well considering her lack of experience, but admits that any future return – considered unlikely for 2023 – will depend on how much sponsorship she is able to raise.

“Considering the lack of preparation at the start of the year and the financial circumstances of the team, and also the fact I was running in the team’s third car, which was not ideal, I think I did a good job,” Calderon told Motorsport.com. 

“We signed the deal very late, we only had three test days prior to the first race and I didn’t know any of the tracks except Mid-Ohio. The physicality of it all was on another level, and the tyres are different between road course, street circuits, and even sometimes in testing, if Firestone shows up with different tyres. As a rookie, it made it really tough. 

 

“I think the team was satisfied with my progress. But to show people on the outside you need the results, especially because now more than ever motorsport is so expensive.

“I definitely enjoyed my time in IndyCar and I hope I can go back in the future. I feel like I have some unfinished business there. But at the end of the day, it’s how much money you can raise from sponsorship that dictates your chances to continue racing.”

After a spell on the sidelines, Calderon was handed a surprise chance to return to Formula 2, where she previously raced full-time in 2019, with the Charouz Racing System team in the final four rounds of the year.

Her mini-campaign, which was disrupted by an accident at Monza in which she broke her hand, was made possible with financial support from Colombian pop singer Karol G, to whom she was introduced by a mutual acquaintance.

 

“I never imagined I would race in F2 again, and the aim was to continue in IndyCar,” said Calderon, who achieved a best finish of 18th with Charouz.

“It wasn’t like we were looking at all for a seat in F2 at all, but then it just suddenly came. It was all thanks to Karol G, really. Without her I wouldn’t have had this chance.

“Before Spa, I didn’t do any simulator, didn’t see the team or speak to any of the engineers, I just showed up there on Wednesday and did my seat. Then it was three races in a row, so there was almost no time to think or really prepare properly.”

Calderon admitted that budget limitations are likely to preclude a full-time return to F2 for next year, as well as her preferred option of IndyCar, but said she was open to returning to endurance racing following her two campaigns driving for the Richard Mille Racing LMP2 team in 2020-21.

The 29-year-old also said that she had been exploring the possibility of going back to Japan, where she contested two COVID-disrupted seasons in Super Formula for Drago Corse during the same period.

“Motorsport is getting really expensive, so we have to see how much sponsorship we can raise to really know what opportunities are available,” the 29-year-old said. “At the moment I’m not sure what direction we will go in. 

“But if I learnt anything this year, it’s that you never really know what chances you might get, so I’m just going with the flow at the moment.”

 


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