Photo Credit: South China Morning Post
Tatiana Calderon was Grand Prix’s first female IndyCar driver since 2015. Calderon was the seventh female IndyCar driver to race in the Grand Prix — joining a list that includes Danica Patrick and Simona de Silvestro.
“I understand the last couple of years that I’m not only racing for myself anymore,” Calderon said. “I’m racing for the next generation, and I hope that I can open more doors for them.”
The 28-year-old female driver was given the opportunity in part thanks to sponsor ROKiT, which sponsored her when she raced in Japan and partners with AJ Foyt Racing.
What is the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg?
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is an IndyCar Series race held in St. Petersburg, Florida. The race serves as the season opener (or at minimum, the first race held on U.S. soil).
The 1.8-mile, 14-turn (5 lefts, 9 rights) circuit incorporates streets of downtown St. Petersburg and a section of runway of Albert Whitted Airport. After the long front stretch, there's a tight right-hander into Turn 1 and then a quick left-hand turn. Plenty of drivers have gotten into trouble in these two turns over the years. There are two other long straights with heavy braking zones that afford opportunities to overtake.
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Results
Winner’s average speed: 96.899 mph; Time of Race: 1:51:27.3466; Margin of victory: 0.5095 of a second; Cautions: 1 for 8 laps; Lead changes: Eight among six drivers. Lap leaders: McLaughlin 1-26; Rossi 27-36; Dixon 37-48; VeeKay 49-61; McLaughlin 62-63; Palou 64; Power 65; Dixon 66-79; McLaughlin 80-100.
The IndyCar Series took the green flag on their 2022 season with Sunday's Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and prior to the event Scott McLaughlin was thinking a top-seven finish would be a great. But instead, he captured the win.
Road courses were the thorn in his side last year, McLaughlin's rookie season, but as soon as his car was unloaded from the transporter, he was fast on the tight, 1.8-mile, 14-turn course along the city's waterfront. He had the fastest practice lap and qualified on the pole.
"I'm out of breath," McLaughlin stated to NBC Sports. "I struggled those last few laps just to keep my head in it. It's hard to go from the mindset of win every week to 'I hope I have a top 15 car. I'm competitive and I didn't know how to go through that. It's a mind game. You have to be on top of it and believe in yourself."
Tatiana Calderon finished in 24th place.