Manual labour is all very well, but it won’t earn you $125,000 (£95,000). Alice Powell managed both last year, working for her dad’s building business and then returning to racing after the best part of five years out to finish third in the inaugural W Series for female racers. That earned her a hefty cheque. But now she returns for season two and wants what champion Jamie Chadwick just got: $500,000 (£380,000).
Powell’s single-seater career petered out in 2014 despite her showing promise in GP3 (now FIA F3). Why? Money, of course. Why else? Since then she’s mostly coached young racers as well as putting in shifts for Dad. “I just do the rubbish jobs, fetching and carrying,” she says. “It’s quite good for fitness actually.”
At 26, the old Formula 1 dream will be a stretch, but Powell has a vast amount of experience to draw on that dates back to junior karting. A professional career in GTs or touring cars should now be within her reach – thanks to the W Series lifeline.
“I totally see the different sides of the argument, that people say it’s segregation,” she says of the series, which received a hail of criticism when it was first launched. “But I saw it mainly as an opportunity to get back out and race again.”