Q&A with Alice Powell

Alice Powell IWI
By the time she was 17 Alice Powell had already become the first woman to win a Formula Renault championship, the first woman to win a Formula Renault race in the UK and had been voted runner up for the Young Star Award at the Women of the Future Awards.  All pretty impressive achievements but from there her career has gone from strength to strength, finishing last year as the first woman to  score points in GP3 after finishing 8th in the 2012 Monza GP3 round sprint race.  This year Alice is racing in F3 and has had a storming start to the season, qualifying in pole, picking up awards for fastest lap times and generally kicking ass.  However with the recent unhelpful comments from racing legends such as Sir Stirling Moss about female race drivers we wanted to know what life was like for a woman living life in the fast lane.
Why and how did you get into driving?
I had always been a fan of Motorsport from the age of three. I used to ride around the garden on my bike pretending I was Michael Schumacher! I then got the opportunity to go-karting at the age of 8 and it went from there. I love the competitiveness and speed of the racing!
Your F3 debut has got off to a good start, what’s your plan for the rest of the season?
It did indeed! My plan is to try and keep the successful run throughout the Formula Three season!
Can you give a quick beginners guide to F3?
Formula Three cars have a lot of downforce, so it’s important to trust the car. In faster corners you need to be brave and if a brake is required, you need to make sure it isn’t a hard one, as you don’t want to upset the weight transfer, ie. a hard brake will make too much weight transfer to the front of the car and make the rear of the car feel less stable and possibly over steer! When you need to brake for much slower corners, you need to brake hard then bleed off to make the most of the aero. There are many other things, but working on these is a good start!

Alice Powell

How have you found racing as a female driver?

I remember when I first started racing I did have some issues with fathers saying to their sons “You can’t let a girl beat you!!” However, once I proved I was fast that soon stopped. Sponsorship is hard for everyone, especially if you don’t have a rich family.

I feel I would be competitive in F1 and it would be great for the sport if a female got to Formula One. Viewing figures increased by 15% when Danica Patrick went into NASCAR and F1 is watched my millions across the world, so imagine the increase of viewing figures if a female took to the circuit?
With the recent momentum and interest in women’s sport, do you think the media world is ready for it?
Yes 100%! It’s great to see more media being directed to female drivers and I think the sport is definitely ready to see a female on the grid.
Who are your sporting heroes?
In Formula One I always cheer on the British drivers and Lotus F1 drivers, but if you told me to pick one driver it would have to be Jenson Button. Outside of Motorsport I admire Jessica Ennis. She had huge press attention on her shoulders during London 2012 and everyone was expecting her to win. She coped with it amazingly, went out there and made us all proud
Catch up with Alice via Twitter @alicepowell or on her website alice-powell.com.  Alice is also an Athlete Supporter of the Women’s Sports Trust.

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