After scoring a podium finish in his first competitive outing this year, Jamaica's karting sensation Alex Powell is now looking to use the momentum gained from that performance in the first round of the Champions of the Future (COTF) series as a strong foundation to push hard for the remainder of the season.
But even as he celebrates the second-place finish as well and good, Powell reaffirmed that winning the FIA Karting European Championship and World Championship are his main targets for the season and, as such, admits there is still significant room for improvements, if he is to fulfil his lofty ambitions.
Powell, 15, who led for 14 laps in the 22-lap final in Valencia, Spain, placed behind Great Britain's Joe Turney, with Frenchman Arthur Poulain in third.
By virtue of that, Powell sits second in the standing of the five-round series on 62 points, one behind Poland's Jan Przyrowski, with Poulain (50 points), Turney (46 points) and another French driver, Jimmy Helias (42 points), completing the early top five.
"To be honest, this weekend was mostly about wetting our feet and getting as much data as possible in preparation for the European Championships, which is the most important one. So it is good to have a bright start to the OK campaign but we still have some ways to go," Powell told the Jamaica Observer just before catching a flight back to his base in Italy.
The American-born Powell was at one point declared the winner as Turney was slapped with a five-second penalty. However, after an appeal by the Kart Republic team, the British driver's penalty was rescinded.
Still, that mattered very little to Powell, who quickly acknowledged that he didn't drive well enough in the final for the win. He had earlier won three of his heats and placed third in another, leading up to the trophy race.
"At the end of the day, I was second on track and I accept that, so the penalty deal wasn't an issue for me. I wasn't quick enough to win so second will have to do and that's something that we have to build on," Powell declared.
"Of course, we always want to win but every aspect of your race has to come together for that to happen. The race and, by extension, the season is all about consistency in your driving, how you conserve your tires, your focus and speed. The latter, in particular, wasn't really there at the backend of the final and that's something we need to improve on a bit more for the European Championship," he added.
The Mercedes F1 protégé understandably holds himself to high standard for the 2023 campaign, as he won two races in the ultra-competitive four-race FIA Karting European Championships, placed third in another and later drove his heart out to place fourth in the FIA Karting World Championships, last year.
So, with that first round of the European Championships scheduled for March 23-26, also in Valencia, Powell pointed out that the objective is to take the lessons from this season opener and apply them to his preparation to ensure continued progress.
"We want more and consistency will be a key factor to our chances of winning this season. We struggled there last year, so this year presents an opportunity to do better and come back stronger," said Powell, who will also be contesting the KZ (stick shift/gear karts) this season.
"We know what we need to do and work on to get better and stronger as a team. And for me personally, I just always want to be doing better, so for me, the next two weeks will be focused on doing as much driving as possible so that I can come back a stronger driver for the European Championships and then build from there for the rest of the season," he ended.