Alice Powell hopeful of Caterham F1 debut in Abu Dhabi

Alice Powell
Alice Powell, from Chipping Norton, was the 2010 Formula Renault Champion and has never raced an F1 car

British female driver Alice Powell is hopeful of making her debut at a Formula 1 weekend with Caterham at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix later this month.

Powell's grandfather is among a number of private investors who are trying to raise enough money to seal her a seat.

Caterham went into administration in October and the administrators recently launched a 'crowd-funding' project.

"If I got to race in free practice for Caterham that would be amazing," ex-Formula 3 driver Powell, 21, said.

Crowd-funding is a way of asking people to invest money in businesses or projects and the Caterham initiative has already raised more than £1m of the £2.35m required for the team to take part in the final race on 23 November.

Caterham in Formula 1
Debut: 2010 (as Lotus Racing)
Points: 0
Best race finish: 11th - Vitaly Petrov at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

The Oxford-based team recently missed both the United States Grand Prix and Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo as the administrators attempt to restructure it.

Powell, from Chipping Norton, added on BBC Radio Oxford: "He [her grandfather] is putting in some of the money and he has managed to raise some of the money and there are some other backers that are trying to join forces as well.

"I believe they were keeping it from me so I didn't get my hopes up but now it is in all the newspapers. I know what these things are like, you just never know what can happen in sport."

Powell, who normally races in Formula Renault Asia, revealed she had never been behind the wheel of an F1 car before.

"The horsepower and the power of the F1 car is incredible," she added. "They [the cars she currently races] are about 200 brake horsepower and F1 cars are about 600. The power difference would be quite a lot also. It's a bigger car and a bigger beast."

The last woman to enter the F1 world championship was Italian Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify for three races at the start of the 1992 season.

In total, five women have entered F1 races in the past, the most prolific being Italian Lella Lombardi, who started 12 grands prix in the 1970s, while Susie Wolff is currently a development driver for Williams.