In 2009 Alice Powell, aged just 16, will become the youngest ever driver in the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship, the 150mph single-seater race series which provides a stepping stone to Formula 1.
Competing with the championship winning team Manor Competition who launched the careers of F1 Champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen – Alice is definitely in the right place.
Starting at Brands Hatch on Sunday, 5th April she plans to be the top ‘rookie’ this season and finish in the overall top 10 – her driving ambition is to become the first successful female in Formula 1.
Alice was introduced to motor sport by her granddad, learnt to drive a car at the age of six and started karting at eight. In 2007/2008 she achieved eight podiums in the Ginetta and BRDC Stars of Tomorrow Championships.
Alice says: “A few women have made it to Formula 1 but no one has made a real impact – that is my ambition. I think the time is right, if a girl is out there doing well then more women would watch Formula 1 – it would definitely make it more exciting.”
“There are a few people out there who think women cannot hack it in motor sport. The route cause is so few women enter the sport probably because: there are no female role models; and parents see it as dangerous for their daughters, but I’d rather be behind the wheel than in front of it – it’s safer.”
Alice continues: “I’d like to be a role model for girls entering motor sport. A successful woman in motor sport would be a true ambassador for the sport and women wanting to enter it and do well. I am breaking new ground and would like to do for motor sport what Ellen MacArthur has done for sailing.”
Alice is supported by http://www.silvertsone-hotels.com, which has financed the 2009 season and is continuing to support her on her route to Formula 1.
Five Women That Have Made It To Formula 1
- Italian Maria Teresa de Filippis became the first ever woman Formula 1 driver when she competed in three Grand Prix in 1958 and finished tenth in the Belgium GP.
- Lella Lombardi finished sixth in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix during her 12-race career.
- Divina Galica failed to qualify for three races including the 1976 British GP.
- Desire Wilson failed to qualify in a Tyrrell in the 1980 British Grand Prix. But she had more luck in 1981 with the Tyrrell team in her native South Africa finishing sixth – although it was scrubbed from the championship because of a dispute between the drivers and the governing body at the time.
- The most recent woman Formula 1 driver was Giovanna Amati who drove for Brabham team in 1993 but never managed to qualify and was replaced by Damon Hill.