Alice Powell, 2010 Formula Renault BARC Champion and recipient of the 2011 BWRDC’s Elite Gold Star and prestigious Lord Wakefield Trophy, was invited to participate in the MRF Formula Championship shakedown session in Chennai, India on 21st – 23rd September in preparation for the stand alone round taking place on the inaugural Formula 1™ Indian Grand Prix weekend in Greater Noida on 29th – 30th October 2011.
Alice was the only female racer amongst twenty international drivers to put the Formula 1600 cars through their paces last month. The 18-year old, who won the 2010 Formula Renault BARC series driving for Hillspeed, will be racing in India for the first time with Team Sidvin, who has also been running her current Formula Renault UK team mate Jordan King in the Indian series. King won three out of the six MRF Formula Championship 2011 races with Team Sidvin back in February where the season kicked off at the Madras Motor Race Track on 5th – 6th and 12th – 13th February.
“I had a fantastic first trip to India,” comments Alice. “We used the first day to acclimatize as it was 40 degrees! I surprised myself at how quickly I adapted to the conditions and after the seat fit, talks with the engineers and mechanics we took to the track on day two when I completed approximately 20 laps and encountered a couple of issues that needing rectifying.
“We completed about 25 laps on the last day and checked everything on the car as well as its set up because all of the cars were being taken straight to Delhi for the race weekend as they were. Therefore I tried to do as little as possible in my car on the third day so it would be in good form for the races at the end of this month.”
The Greater Noida leg takes place during the F1 weekend and is titled the ‘Delhi Championship with MRF’. It will be the official support race for the inaugural F1 event and offers the winner a reportedly $50,000 prize purse.
Powered by a 1.6 litre, 16-valve Ford Duratec engine and built on a Van Diemen designed chassis, the Formula 1600 puts out 140bhp and boasts of a Hewland five-speed sequential shift gearbox.
Alice adds, “I did not find the car hard to drive at all and really enjoyed it! I am happy with how my body adapted, not only to the weather conditions, but to the car itself too. I was the quickest driver on the last morning of the shakedown and second quickest overall, so I am really looking forward to driving the car on an F1 track. I shall be getting to grips with the Buddh International Circuit on my Xbox over the next few weeks and cannot wait to visit India again – thank you Team Sidvin and the MRF Formula Championship 2011 for this amazing opportunity.”