Colombia's Tatiana Calderon is "a step closer" to her F1 dream.

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Colombian joins Sauber team

Dreams of becoming an F1 driver

CNN  — 

Formula One hasn’t had a female driver on the starting grid in over 40 years, but Tatiana Calderon is hoping to end that long wait.

The Colombian has joined Sauber as a development driver for 2017, and the team aims to provide her with the tools to fulfill her potential.

“I look forward to working with the team and learning as much as I can,” the 23-year-old said in a statement on Sauber’s website Tuesday. “It is a step closer to my dream – one day competing in Formula 1!”

Having discovered a love of racing on the karting circuit in her native Bogotá, Calderón hopes to become the first woman to start an F1 race since 1976.

Susie Wolff has been the closest in recent years, taking part in several pre-race practice sessions for Williams, but quit at the end of 2015 when it became apparent she would not be considered for a championship drive.

Carmen Jorda has been a development driver at Lotus and Renault since 2015, while Simona de Silvestro of Switzerland had a brief spell with Sauber before becoming the first female to score points in a Formula E race, and now races in the Australian Supercars Championship.

Jorda’s fellow Spaniard Maria de Villota had an ill-fated time with the Marussia team, losing the sight in her right eye after crashing during her first test drive in 2012. She was found dead in a hotel the following year, aged 33.

Italy’s Lella Lombardi remains the only female world championship point-scorer, courtesy of her sixth-place finish at the 1975 Spanish GP.

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“We are very pleased to welcome Tatiana on board to the Sauber family,” said Monisha Kaltenborn, the only female team principal in F1.

“We have the opportunities and facilities to provide Tatiana a professional platform on which she can further develop her knowledge and skills in racing.

“I am convinced that we can provide her lots of in-depth motorsport know-how for her future career in racing.”

Calderon finished second overall in the 2015-16 MRF Challenge Formula 2000 Championship, and also raced in the GP3 Series – one of F1’s feeder competitions, which has also featured the likes of Esteban Gutiérrez, Daniil Kvyat and new Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.

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Calderon will continue to drive in GP3 while taking part in Sauber’s development program, which will include professional simulator training sessions and on-site coaching during F1 grand prix weekends.