Contrary to earlier reports, it seems Honda will not
now give IndyCar's first lady Danica Patrick a try-out in one of its RA108 Formula 1 cars following the end of the 2008 world championship campaign.
Having confessed that she is 'dead set' on a move across the Pond into grand prix racing, the 26-year-old from Wisconsin initially received a positive response from Honda, the Japanese manufacturer supplying engines to the Andretti Green Racing outfit with whom she competes in the US – and with whom she earned her maiden IndyCar Series victory, a breakthrough result for a woman in American open-wheel racing, at Motegi back in April.
“If Danica wants to have a drive in our car at the end of the season, we'd be very open to the idea,” Honda F1 CEO Nick Fry admitted in the summer, “but – to make it very clear – there has been no request thus far from Danica.
“The door is open if she's interested.... [and] I would say it's absolutely not just promotional.”
Fry added to that by revealing in an interview with Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung
that 'we will put her into our car after the season at the latest and see how quick she is' [see separate story – click here
], and a test was expected to be arranged for either Barcelona or Jerez in Spain next month.
According to Canadian motorsport website Auto123.com
, however, a Honda F1 spokeswoman has now stated that there will be no such outing, underlining: “We have no current plans to test Danica Patrick.”
Honda's current driver Jenson Button had previously joked in an interview with men's lifestyle magazine FHM
that 'a girl with big boobs would never be comfortable in the car, and the mechanics wouldn't concentrate. Can you imagine strapping her in? You wouldn't want to be on the circuit with them, would you?'
The last woman to enter the top flight was Giovanna Amati, who attempted to qualify three times for Brabham back in 1992 before being replaced at the ailing British outfit by Damon Hill.
Patrick competed in the UK at the age of 16, going on to finish runner-up in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival – the best result ever achieved by either an American or a woman in the high-profile event. The Beloit native ended the 2008 IndyCar Series campaign ranked sixth out of 39 competitors in the title chase.