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Alice Powell: “W Series has kickstarted my career again for me”

Alice Powell has made an impressive start to the 2021 W Series season, dominating the first round at the Red Bull Ring and then again in front of a jam-packed home crowd at Silverstone a couple of weeks ago.

These impressive results have the Brit leading the way in the W Series championship standings, an impressive feat for Powell who has made her comeback to single-seater competition.

Talking to Females in Motorsport, she said: “I am taking it race-by-race and that’s certainly going to be my plan for the rest of the year. To have two wins under my belt already and that’s fantastic. I’m looking forward to hopefully adding to that tally.”

Alice scored the hattrick at Silverstone, being fastest in practice, putting it on pole in qualifying and winning the race too.

However, the race wasn’t easy for her: losing the lead at the start, she had to fight back to overtake Fabienne Wohlwend who is having a storming season.

“It was something that I’ll never ever forget,” Alice says.

“The crowd was absolutely fantastic. In fact, the support for all of the W Series drivers has been incredible. To win in front of my home crowd, in the way that I did, was great.”

With four rounds to go after the Hungaroring, Alice is hoping to take the championship but is taking it one step at a time.

“I’m not looking at the standings at all,” she says. “I know that I’m in the lead, but I don’t actually know by how many points. I’m just trying to keep focused on taking it race-by-race.”

The all-female racing series is now a support race for Formula 1, which has brought significantly more attention towards the championship and the talented drivers that make up the grid.

With more than 45 years having passed since a female driver last started a championship F1 race, the importance of the series supporting the pinnacle of motorsport is crucial.

“F1 has been hugely impressed with the series,” Powell says. “We’re only in the second year of W Series competition and to race as a support series for F1 is attracting huge companies. There are others in the pipeline, too.

“The viewing figures for Silverstone were brilliant as well. It's a credit to everyone in the series who is working so hard.

“Over half a million people tuned in on Channel 4 for the Silverstone race. That’s amazing for a series that is so new. It’s a great way to showcase female talent and the younger generation of racers coming through too.”

Recently, Powell was announced as an official sim driver for Envision Virgin Racing, a team that competes in the FIA Formula E championship. Although she has been working for the team for a while, this is another great step for Powell’s racing career.

“Formula E is a championship that is growing massively and it is a series that I have a lot of respect for and the guys and girls that work at Envision work really hard,” she says. “We are heading into the final round in Berlin in a few weeks’ time, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for me and to work with a great bunch of people is something I am really appreciative of.”

Many young women don’t realise that there are opportunities for them to go into motorsport as it is such a male-dominated industry, however that isn’t the case. In the past decade, the number of females in the sport has increased but there is still a lot of progress to be made.

“It’s improving a lot more and seeing more female drivers at the moment,” she says. “I don’t think of it like that anymore - maybe when I first started karting and, believe it or not, but I was quite a shy eight-year-old. There were hardly any female drivers - I can only remember one or two in karting at the time I was there.

“It’s different now and there’s a lot more but there’s still work to be done with that. Now, it’s something I’ve got used to but you can see it from the outside world and you meet young girls who don’t quite understand.”

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