Alice Powell makes perfect start to 2022 W Series season

Alice Powell (Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing W Series Team, 29, UK) made the perfect start to the 2022 W Series season by topping the practice session at W Series Miami presented by Hard Rock.

There were only 75 seconds of the 30-minute session remaining when last year’s runner-up pinched first place by less than one tenth of a second from Fabienne Wohlwend (CortDAO Racing W Series Team, 24, LIE) with her final flying lap of 1:57.118. In a scorching Miami, Fabienne completed more laps than any of the 18 drivers and finished almost two tenths of a second ahead of reigning double W Series champion Jamie Chadwick (Jenner Racing, 23, UK), who was third fastest.

Nerea Marti (Quantfury Racing W Series Team, 20, ESP), Emma Kimiläinen (Puma W Series Team, 32, FIN), Sarah Moore (Scuderia W, 28, UK), Beitske Visser (Sirin Racing W Series Team, 27, NED), and Jessica Hawkins (Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing W Series Team, 27, UK), were the other drivers to get within a second of Alice’s benchmark, as Belen Garcia (Quantfury Racing W Series Team, 22, ESP), and Bruna Tomaselli (Racing X, 24, BRA) completed the top 10. Juju Noda (W Series Academy, 16, JPN) in 14th place was the fastest of the five drivers making their W Series debuts this weekend in support of the inaugural Formula 1® Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix.

The drivers struggled in the early stages to find grip on the brand-new Miami International Autodrome’s fresh surface, and several ran wide at Turn 1, as had been the case for their F1 counterparts during their opening practice session earlier on Friday.

With a third of the session gone, the top three in the 2021 W Series championship were at the head of the field again, as Alice, Jamie and Emma traded fastest laps. A spin at Turn 8 by rookie Bianca Bustamante (W Series Academy, 17, PHI) halfway through the session saw the proceedings red-flagged.

When running resumed five minutes later, Emma held top spot ahead of Alice and Fabienne. The latter improved on her next two flying laps, the second of which saw her jump to the top of the timing screens by half a second with four minutes remaining. But Alice had the final say to head into Saturday’s qualifying session for the season-opening double-header in confident mood before Juju made contact with the wall on the exit of Turn 15 as the chequered flag fell.

W Series’ schedule for this weekend continues tomorrow (Saturday 7 May) with qualifying from 09.10 to 09.40. The drivers’ best time will determine the starting grid for race one – which is at 14.30 on the same day – and their second-best time will determine the starting grid for race two, which begins at 10.35 on Sunday 8 May. Both races will be 30 minutes plus one lap.

British fans can watch the first race of the 2022 W Series season live from the Miami International Autodrome on Sky Sports F1 from 19.10 BST on Saturday 7 May, with qualifying live on the same channel earlier that day at 14.00 BST. The second race of the season will be on Sky Sports F1 from 15.20 BST on Sunday 8 May. Highlights of the first race will be on Channel 4 at 08.00 BST on Sunday 8 May, and highlights of the second race will be on Channel 4 at 07.35 BST on Monday 9 May.

Fans in the USA can watch qualifying and race one on Saturday 7 May at 09.10 and 14.30 respectively on ESPNEWS. Race two is on ESPN2 at 10.35 on Sunday 8 May. The action can also be seen across W Series’ digital and social channels, as well as being broadcast in more than 175 territories, with a full list available at https://wseries.com/where-to-watch/.

Alice Powell (Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing W Series Team, 29, UK) said:
“I really like the track and I like street circuits anyway. It is an interesting track with a mixture of high-speed and low-speed corners. I nearly put it into the wall at the chicane as I was just experimenting and trying the kerbs to see what I could get away with – clearly not that much – but we managed to avoid it. Overall it was a good session and, on my best lap, I got a good tow so I’ll have to see how much that affected me. It feels like there is certainly still some more time in there as I only got one clear lap after the first red flag. There are still lots of things to work on for me and a little bit to work on with the car, but it’s a good start for the team and hopefully we can continue that in qualifying tomorrow.”

Fabienne Wohlwend (CortDAO Racing W Series Team, 24, LIE) said:
“I love Miami! It was so much fun, and I really enjoyed myself during that session. The first sector is really fast with lots of flowing corners which are great to drive. The chicane is quite tricky as I went up the kerb a bit and lost the rear, but we kept it on track. We improved lap-by-lap so I am really excited for what’s to come tomorrow and hopeful of a successful weekend.”