Tatiana Calderón: Trailblazer, F1 Competitor, and Voice for Female Racers

Tatiana Calderón
? Alfa Romeo media

15 years ago, Tatiana Calderón fell in love with go-karting in Colombia.

She was hooked ever since. At only 9 years old, Calderón knew that she was destined to race. From go-karts to F1 racing, Tatiana Calderón is proof that childhood dreams can come true. However, the journey wasn’t always easy. As a female Formula 1 racer for Alfa Romeo, she faced some challenges throughout her career. Now, she’s using her experience and her voice to help other female racers.

Related: The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio: All You Love, Plus a Little More 

Tatiana Calderón

Photo: Alfa Romeo Media

The Woman in the F1 Suit

I got to chat with Tatiana Calderón recently to learn more about her journey. She was fun to talk to, humble and has a great story. But Calderón is more than a race car driver. She’s a trailblazer, an overachiever, a woman who didn’t let obstacles get in her way.

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Tatiana Calderón

CALDERON Tatiana (col), Test Driver of Alfa Romeo Racing, portrait during the first session of the Formula 1 Pre-season testing 2020 from February 19 to 21, 2020 on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in Montmelo, Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI

Strength Training and Proper Engineering Are the Winning Formula for Tatiana

Engineers told her to work out more. They said she needed to be stronger to brake properly. And it’s true, Formula 1 racing is not an easy sport for women. This is simply because women and men are not built the same.

However, it’s not a matter of speed or ability. The measurements are different for hand placement, proper seating and more. Calderón recalled being told by engineers to work on strength building because she was not able to hit the brake hard enough. But even her trainer said that was impossible because she had been training harder and was stronger than many other race car drivers. For that reason, Calderón placed a Go-Pro camera at the pedals, discovering that pressure modifications were needed. Once the changes were made, Tatiana Calderón could compete.

“Women can compete, but we need the right modifications in design. We have 30% less muscle mass than men,” says Calderón.

Now racing for Alfa Romeo, Calderón finally feels at home with her team. She said she is treated as an equal in a team that feels more like a family. She works closely with the engineers to ensure that she gets the best drive.

Fun facts about Tatiana Calderón

  • When she knew she wanted to race: 9 years old, after experiencing go-karting.
  • Where her journey began: In Colombia, later in the United States, and now in Spain where she has lived for the past 9 years.
  • Prep time for F1 racing: 15 years.
  • People she admires: Pro Tennis player Roger Federer but in motorsports, Juan Pablo Montoya, a pro Colombian race car driver. When she met Montoya, he told her, “Si ellos pueden, usted tambien,” meaning, “If they (men) can do it, so can you.”
  • Favorite Alfa Romeo models: Stelvio and Giulia

Related: 9 Reasons You Should Consider the Alfa Romeo Stelvio for Your Next SUV

Tatiana Calderón

Tatiana Calderon prepares for a double race. Photo: Alfa Romeo media

Hard Work Pays Off

Calderón spends three hours a few times a week in a simulator where she is able to connect with the engineers virtually (because of Covid). It’s important for her to build strength for the sport. In fact, her neck grew by 9 cm since she began training, but those are the things that come with this type of dream job.

In her down time, Calderón enjoys drinking coffee, nature, riding her bicycle, and watching Netflix.

Alfa Romeo F1 Racing

Photo: Alfa Romeo media

Tatiana’s Message for Girls Who Dream of Racing

For Calderón, getting into Formula 1 racing wasn’t an easy task. Coming from Colombia, she worked hard to gain respect in a male-dominated industry. She is grateful to be on a team that doesn’t treat her differently because of gender and appreciates her for her skill. Calderón encourages other women to fight hard for what they want in the industry. She is now using her voice to inspire girls 8-12 years old to join a program called Dare to Be Different (also known as FIA Girls on Track). The program teaches girls that race car driving is a career option.

Calderón is also part of the FIA Women in Motorsport group that helps create opportunities for women. One of her efforts is pushing to get correct measurements for race cars for women. She wants more women in the industry since the number of female race car drivers is still low.

“When you work hard at what you are passionate about, it’s possible. No limits! Challenge yourself and dream big!” -Tatiana Calderón

Tatiana Calderón

A young Tatiana Calderón wins a go-kart championship. Photo: Alfa Romeo media

Lillie Morales is an entrepreneur mama- writer, photographer, and an Editor at AGirlsGuidetoCars.com. She loves fast, pretty cars- ones... More about Lillie Morales