Mexico thrilled this year, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton becoming a five-time Formula 1 World Champion at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez – matching the Maestro, Juan Manuel Fangio.
But more history was made on the Tuesday after the race, with Sauber’s test driver Tatiana Calderón becoming the first Latin American woman to drive an F1 car in an official capacity.
… and in the team’s current C37, the 25-year-old just the second female to get a taste of hybrid-era Grand Prix machinery.
Calderón made the most of the 23 laps she completed, taking confidence, precision and aggression into her approach on-track.
…. and Sauber’s head of trackside engineering, F1 veteran Xevi Pujolar, was impressed with the Colombian young gun’s overall performance.
SOUNDBITE (Spanish) XEVI PUJOLAR,
HEAD OF TRACK ENGINEERING, SAUBER:
"She was very prepared: how she had to go turn by turn, how she had to brake, and to see a bit, especially the braking, how Tatiana was going to react. But she did it very well, adapting very well, later on lowering her times consistently, without putting a wheel wrong. We can truly congratulate her.”
Calderón switched to cars in 2010 as a multiple karting champion. She raced in European and British F3, the Toyota Racing Series, and took second in the MRF Challenge in 2015, before joining GP3.
Naturally, the Colombian’s maiden F1 test was a special moment, shared with her parents and sister, and paid testament to all the hard work she’s put into her career from nine years of age.
SOUNDBITE (Spanish) TATIANA CALDERÓN,
TEST DRIVER, SAUBER:
"It was incredible, a dream come true. The feeling of being in a Formula 1 car for the first time cannot be described. It was like a video game on the playstation, with things going by so fast. The braking is something incredible."
Calderón’s goal for 2019 is to move up to Formula 2, one step away from the top – as the challenge to become the first female driver to start a GP since Lella Lombardi in 1976 moves up a gear.