October 31, 2018 / 12:05 AM / 13 days ago

Motor racing: Calderon sets a female F1 first for Latin America

FILE PHOTO: Motor Sport - 2013 FIA Formula 3 Euope Championship - Silverstone - 13/4/13 Tatiana Calderon of Double R Racing in action Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Matthew Childs/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Colombian Tatiana Calderon became the first Latin American woman to drive a Formula One car in an official capacity when she took part in a promotional event for the Sauber team in Mexico on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old GP3 racer was appointed official test driver for the Ferrari-powered Swiss team last March after a year in a development role but on Tuesday she had her first opportunity to drive the 2018 car.

“I can’t describe the sensation of being in the car, I don’t want to go back to my GP3 car,” she said afterwards.

Teams are allowed to do a maximum of 100km — equivalent to 23 laps of the Mexican Grand Prix circuit — on such filming days.

“Since I started racing, my dream and goal has been to drive at the highest level one day,” she had said when it was announced she would drive the C37 car at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.

“As a Latin American driver, there could not be a more special place for me to make my debut behind the wheel of a Formula One car.”

Calderon, who is backed by the team’s Mexican sponsor Telmex, was the first woman to drive a current Formula One car since Britain’s Susie Wolff, who retired in 2015 after taking part in two grand prix practice sessions for Williams.

The Colombian is hoping to compete in Formula Two next season.

Formula One has not had a woman driver start a grand prix since Italian Lella Lombardi in 1976.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Peter Rutherford

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