This Could Be the First Woman to Race in Formula 1 in Over 40 Years

Tatiana Calderón could be the first woman to race Formula 1 since 1976

Tatiana Calderon, Alfa Romeo Racing F1 test driver in Carrera sunglasses is seen at Gumball 3000 MykonosvIbiza on June 13, 2019 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Guido De Bortoli/Getty Images for SAFILO)
Tatiana Calderon, Alfa Romeo Racing F1 test driver in Carrera sunglasses is seen at Gumball 3000 MykonosvIbiza on June 13, 2019 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Guido De Bortoli/Getty Images for SAFILO)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / October 8, 2019 5:30 am

Colombia-born race car driver Tatiana Calderón has been driving since she was just nine, and as Forbes points out, her years behind the wheel could soon pay off in a big way, as the 26-year-old test driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team and Formula 2 driver for BWT Arden is poised to become the first woman to race Formula 1 in over 40 years.

Should she make it, she’d be the first woman in the competition since Italian driver Leila Lombardi 43 years ago. “As a woman people will tell me that I will never be physically good enough,” Calderón told Forbes. “You can’t just focus on the results. I am doing this because I love the speed and I love the adrenaline. I love being in a race car. I can never imagine my life without racing. Whenever I was thinking of quitting, I felt that there was nowhere I’d rather be than in a race car. It is tough, but I love challenges.”

Calderón also told the publication that she uses the sexism she’s experienced as a woman in a male-dominated sport as motivation in competition. “Firstly, I feel like asking them what do they know because it is mostly guys who say that [women can’t compete],” she said. “How do they know how we think or how we act or how are bodies are? It obviously pisses me off that people think this way and they try to put limits on your performance. But it motivates me even more because I want to prove them wrong — to prove that I am capable of competing at the highest level. I have always taken those comments as an extra motivation. In a way it has made me a better driver and a better understanding of myself.”

She plans on remaining in Formula 2 at least through 2019, but Calderón says she has her sights set firmly on Formula 1 in the long-run.

“My goal is to 100 percent get to Formula 1,” she shares. “I know I can do it. It is just about putting everything together in the right moment.”

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