W Series: Leader Alice Powell "can't write anyone off" ahead of Austrian F1 Grand Prix weekend

Alice Powell

Alice Powell tops the W Series table after banking her first win of the season in the opening race in Austria.

The Brit started 2019 as she planned to go on – first place on the podium. Powell’s victory at Brands Hatch last series was bottled up and released last weekend, seeing her earn 25 points and also register the fastest lap on the Red Bull Ring circuit.

Ahead of another race in Austria, GiveMeSport Women sat down with the W Series leader to talk about her performance and her chances of winning the title this year.

“It was a weekend I definitely didn’t expect,” the humble Powell admitted. “I didn’t expect to top all the sessions and get [the] fastest lap of the race.”

W Series

“I just took it [the race] in stages – I was just biding my time, not over-driving, not over-pushing, just trying to find consistent laps.”

Title run blown wide open

Powell finished third overall in the inaugural W Series season, behind Beitske Visser and champion Jamie Chadwick. As the defender of the crown, 23-year-old Chadwick was arguably the favourite going into the new campaign, but the opening weekend in Austria was a nightmare for the Brit.

A fault during qualifying and a incident on Saturday saw Chadwick finish in eighth place – a result that shocked many. But despite her surprise finish, Powell warned you “can’t write anyone off” when it comes to the fierce competition of the W Series.

“Jamie’s the reigning champion so she’s always going to be one to watch out for, but I’m just going to try my utmost to take it race by race. People have said to me, ‘how do you feel being top of the Championship?’ but we’ve only had one race, there’s still seven races to go. Things can change massively in sport, let alone motorsport.”

Looking ahead to Saturday

Powell will be looking to build on her strong start to the season with another result at the Red Bull Ring. The drivers will be back in action this weekend as they race in support of Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix.

The world’s biggest single-seater racing stage has partnered with the W Series for 2021 and beyond, marking a huge move for women in motorsport.

“I know every single driver on the grid really appreciates everything that they [F1] are doing and it’s a huge credit to the W Series for coming so far in only the second season,” Powell said. “To have the opportunity to race let alone one Formula 1 race, but seven others as well is amazing, so I think it just shows how serious people are actually taking the W Series.”

Alice Powell

The Championship leader has admitted she isn’t getting ahead of herself going into the second race in Austria and she knows there’s some serious talent hot on her heels who are pushing for the title this season.

Sarah Moore finished second last weekend and became the first ever LGBTQ+ driver to earn a podium place during a Grand Prix weekend. Third place was taken by Liechtenstein’s Fabienne Wohlwend.

“I’m just making sure that I’m as consistent as possible,” Powell said on her chances of winning the 2021 title. “Hopefully that will build up to being champion at the end of the year.”

Watch round two of the 2021 W Series season from the Red Bull Ring, Austria, live and free-to-air on Channel 4 from 3pm BST on Saturday 3 July.

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