Britain’s leading female racing driver Alice Powell made history by becoming the first female driver to win a Formula Renault Championship, winning the 2010 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship; a grand accolade and a spring-board to becoming the first successful female in F1. Formula Renault is a tough series and is run in most European countries, in Asia and the Americas.
At 17, Alice is a year younger than Lewis Hamilton was when he won his first Renault Championship at 18, in the same car. The BARC car costs the same as Lewis’s except the engine has a slight restriction to prolong it’s life.
Alice overturned a 16-point advantage held by title rival Mitchell Hale, going into yesterday’s championship finale at Thruxton. Powell triumphed over Hale in the finale in the best possible way – with race victory.
Alice says: “As there was no pre race testing, all the 18 cars had to go straight into qualifying. As the cars began their qualifying runs, my car would not start. I then saw 9 years of hard work and every penny invested going down the drain. The seconds and minutes seemed like hours when I heard the cars screaming down the straight. As the session approached halfway, I heard the cars coming into the pits to change their tyres. I now felt it was all over. However, just after halfway through the session, my engineer Sarah managed to sort out the fuel injection problem. With only a few hot laps remaining, I still managed to get pole for the last race.”
As the race started, she managed to build a lead but the safety car came out which bunched the field up, so she had all the drama of the start, once more. She pulled ahead and to her horror there was another safety car. She managed to pull away again and crossed the line with a one second lead, and took the coveted crown by 8 points (see final points table http://www.driverdb.com/standings/557-2010/ ).
“I offer a huge thanks to my engineer Sarah Shaw for all her help and effort she has given me this season as well as to my team Hillspeed and all my sponsors, Silverstone-Hotels.com, Immun’Age and Bristol Street Motors. The day had began with a nightmare and ended with it being the best day of my life.”
Renault have now introduced a bigger and more powerful Formula Renault than the one in which Lewis raced in. Alice will be doing the Formula Renault UK Winter Series in the new car with Manor. Although some drivers have had a full season in the new car, she is aims to get a podium(s) in this winter series.