Danica Patrick has admitted that the speculation linking her to a possible future in Formula 1 with new outfit USF1 has been 'very flattering' – even if she has never 'expressed a lot of excitement and interest in world travel'.
Ken Anderson, one of the co-principals at the nascent, North Carolina-based squad, admitted earlier this week that the IndyCar Series pin-up – and the championship's first-ever female race-winner, courtesy of her breakthrough triumph at Motegi in Japan last year – is 'great' and would generate substantial media coverage for USF1, adding that the team would 'certainly love to test her' [see separate story – click here
There has not been a female driver in the top flight since Giovanna Amati tried and failed to qualify for three grands prix with Brabham back in 1992, eventually being replaced by Damon Hill. Whilst Patrick – who was also linked to a test outing with Honda before the manufacturer pulled the plug on its F1 project late last year – confessed that she would be open to the possibility, she revealed that there has of yet been no contact.
“It's very flattering,” the 26-year-old admitted to Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail
. “I think that any time you are in the same sentence as Formula 1, it's a flattering thing, but there haven't been any quotes from me because they haven't spoken to me.”
There has been much cynicism expressed about the reasons behind wishing to run Patrick in F1, with some suggesting that in an age in which sponsors are shying away and backing out of deals as a consequence of the global credit crunch, a headline-grabbing female – Patrick recently featured on the pages of Sports Illustrated's
famous swimsuit edition [see separate story – click here
] – would be precisely the tonic to lure such companies back in again.
Moreover, at just 48kg, she would also be entering the formula at the right time, with the advent of the heavy KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology shifting the emphasis onto the drivers to lose weight in order to remain competitive.
However, despite having competed this side of the Pond in both Formula Vauxhall and Formula Ford in the UK whilst in her late teens, the Wisconsin native has hinted that she is more than happy to remain where she is for now.
“I haven't really expressed a lot of excitement and interest in world travel,” she revealed. “We'll see what they (USF1) say, though. Maybe they'll call.”