BARCELONA, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Colombian Tatiana Calderon has joined Sauber in the role of development driver, hoping eventually to break the male domination of the Formula One starting grid.
“I look forward to working with the team and learning as much as I can. It is a step closer to my dream – one day competing in Formula One,” she said in a team statement on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old will race in the GP3 support series this season while also embarking on a Sauber programme that includes simulator training and working with engineers.
Swiss-based Sauber are the only team with a female principal, Monisha Kaltenborn, although former champions Williams are effectively run by founder Frank Williams’ daughter Claire.
Sauber previously had Swiss racer Simona de Silvestro as an ‘affiliated driver’, aiming at bringing her to Formula One, but that ultimately came to nothing. She raced in the all-electric Formula E series and is now competing in Australia.
Formula One has not had a woman driver start a grand prix since 1976.
Juan Pablo Montoya, a race winner for Williams and McLaren between 2001-06, is one of only two Colombians to have started a Formula One grand prix. The other was Roberto Guerrero in 1982-83. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)