Powell enjoying GP3
British driver relishing new challenge
By William Esler. Last Updated: June 21, 2012 2:44pm
Alice Powell: Looks at the data (Image: GP3 Series Media)
Britain's Alice Powell says she is enjoying life in GP3 after making the leap from Formula Renault UK to the Formula 1 support series.
The 19-year-old has impressed at the opening two rounds in Spain and Monaco, narrowly missing out on points at both venues.
Powell admits it has been a big step from Formula Renault UK to GP3, particularly given a lack of testing after the deal came to fruition a few weeks before the season started.
"It is quite a big step, obviously the one thing that jumped out at me when I first tested the car was the amount of grip the GP3 car has compared to the Formula Renault," she told Sky Sports.
"The level of downforce and the speed you have to carry through the corner. I'm still getting used to it now, but I'm really enjoying it. Status Grand Prix have done a great job in helping me settle into the car, because obviously I only had two test days at the start of the season so I was slightly on the back foot.
"It has made it very difficult as most of the drivers did pre-season testing and had something like 10 days behind the wheel, but I guess that means I go into this championship with a little less pressure on myself because I haven't had the experience in the car.
"It's been a good start, I would like to get a few better results, but we will take it one step at a time."
Powell's GP3 debut didn't get off to the best of starts, when she was forced to retire on the first lap after a manic start to the first race of the season, but she bounced back in race two, storming from the back of the grid to 11th place.
The season started with a first lap retirement
She added: "Barcelona was just incredible. The first race was a nightmare, then obviously I had to start 25th and when my engineer said after the first lap 'you're P13', everything was just slow motion, my mouth was open like 'oh my God!'
"We made up all those places and then managed to make up two more so it was really good and a great way to start the first race weekend. If you had told me I would finish 11th in Barcelona I would have said there was something wrong with you."
The GP3 Series made its Monaco debut this year, and it was also the first time that Powell has got to experience the world famous streets of Monte Carlo.
"It was incredible. After the first 40 minutes practice session until about two hours later I still had a big smile from ear to ear. It was such an incredible experience and I am so lucky to be able to have the opportunity to drive that track and it is really enjoyable.
Alice Powell: On track in Monaco
"It might not be enjoyable to watch as there is not much room to overtake, but from a driving point of view it is just incredible, it is so quick, you're always doing something. There isn't any long straights so you can't relax and focus on the next corner as you are already on the next corner, so it is a really good drivers' circuit."
This weekend Powell will be back on track after a four week GP3 Series break at another street circuit, this time around the Valencia harbour. And it will be yet another circuit that the 19-year-old will have to learn having never raced there before.
"The track is a lot wider than in Monaco and there are very long straights, so you can easily pick up a tow from the person in front.
"It is very different, but we are using the same tyre compound, the soft compound, so that should be interesting. I'm really looking forward to it, every race I just can't wait.
"Hopefully we can make the top 15. It won't be easy as the track is really long. Quite a few have been there before, but we will just take it one step at a time. Sometimes you put too much pressure on yourself and that is always a bad thing."