Would Danica Patrick be an asset or a liability to F1 ?

Danica Patrick is making F1 headlines. Rumours about her Formula 1 test with Honda spread much faster than the following Nick Fry’s denial about any contact between Honda F1 and Patrick. Nick Fry however does not seem to be entirely opposed to the idea:

“But if Danica did want to test one of our cars, we would be more than happy to speak to her about it.”


The Honda link is understandable as she races Honda powered car in the IRL series. Coincidentally also her only IRL race win to date came at Honda owned Motegi track in Japan earlier this year.

The quick but not-so-firm denial from Nick Fry may mean one thing. Although there are no immediate plans for any F1 test Honda is well aware of Patrick’s marketing potential. She is one of the top IRL drivers, she is an American, she can get angry and she has looks that sell well … Sort of a package the whole Formula 1 may need to finally break into the US market … We can see what upheaval the arrival of Lewis Hamilton and his title challenge has caused in the UK. It is not that difficult to imagine the impact Danica Patrick might have on Formula 1 viewing figures in the United States if she raced at the top. If she raced at the top … But what if she ends up like Michael Andretti ?

So would she be an asset or liability to Formula 1 ?

20 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Arun SNo Gravatar says:

    What if? She wouldn’t understand the ethos of F1, complain there aren’t much ‘action on track’ or even worse ‘F1 is boring’, my team conspired against my victory, and what not. I debate with many IRL/Nascar lovers here about F1′s meaning, what it stands for etc., if she wins, good, we get more viewership in USA, great for Bernie, if she loses, bad for the entire f1 community and fanatics combined..

  2. StewNo Gravatar says:

    No, not an asset, but not a liability either. Looks may sell to a few in North America, but let’s face it, she’s only won 1 race in IRL and I don’t see that cutting it in F1. Controversy aside about Michael Andretti, at least he won races in North America and had the Andretti name behind him.

    She’s learned the American way of racing only and if Lewis had run into the back of her car, she wouldn’t have patted him on the back and pointed to the light, she would have smacked him. That alone wouldn’t go over well. :)

    • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

      HAHAHA Smacked him!! That would be gently ;) I think the golden boy deserves someday to have a talk and say what he need to do when he mistakes, not to say “yeah! yeah! leave me” to the actual world champion, that was too rude also…

  3. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    It seems to me that Danica Patrick would be the first bet from Christine Blanchford to get into F1 winter tests :) And I would understand her pretty well.

    But for me, humm… Let’s give her a vote for the future! Yes she does look well, it isn’t the most important to F1 competition when you wear a overalls and a helmet, but still important and can make her entry easier.
    She drives fast, but not the fastest and she do well as driver, quite disciplined :)
    She’s a historical figure; well being the first woman in high-performance race cars competitions she will own many of these records sooner or later.

    If she does the step to the F1, by the hand of Honda, she would need part of her actual team AGR coming with her also. It’s not contempt to her, but yes to Honda’s F1 actual technicians side and engineers team. For my understanding, the people within wouldn’t suit any more to the job… Have they been years having a battle with a woman to reach the leaders? No… And have they ever worked with a natural leader as Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton? No… Danica would need the people with whom is working nowadays, cause they adapted to the challenge of having a feminine driver. It’s complicated to say why, we see that she as driver is pretty strong (seriously, no woman arrives to do well as she in the competition without being incredible strong and fixed on her work), that’s why I compare her with the kind of character of a natural leader, because she has it.

    Now Honda would adapt to it? Working with a feminine driver? And recognize who is the central pillar of their team? Sorry, but I’ve ever seen them considering it even with Jenson’s work… Even it seems to me that their team hasn’t set-up clear ideas ever also.

    Consider her marketing potential, it is enormous!!! So, anyone would give a bet for her if she really deserves, let the time pass by and that Patrick show some more good races in IRL, and will have a more clear chance. But for now, she won a race with a very good strategy planning in Motegi’s Twin Ring.
    Also Andretti’s family is pretty well known for the racing world to help her to give that big step, the team AGR is doing pretty well, with most of their drivers following the leaders.

    Last, I would recommend everyone to visit Danica’s official website, it’s worth a worldwide famous popstar!! The site owns background music from Alanis Morrissette (again a feature from the marketing panders).

    http://www.danicaracing.com/

  4. Dan BNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think it will happen.

    Ross Brawn doesn’t go for stuff like that. Not because she is a woman but because she is a rookie. If you look at Brawn’ history, he has always brought in experience drivers from other teams instead of bring in rookies.

    Danica is a talented driver, but by seeing her race in person, she is nowhere near good enough to take the jump to F1. Besides, she is the meal ticket to the IRL and they certainly would not let her leave.

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      oh, totally forgot about the Ross Brawn factor and “new Honda” … but at the same time do not forget whom Honda hired to do PR and to come up with the Earth livery .. the showbiz connection is there :-)

  5. Is she even good at road course racing?

  6. it would be a way for honda to get more sponsorship (i dont remember where i heard they did that Earth dreaams stuff, because the couldnt get any sponsorships!) but we have to see if she is good in road course!

    • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

      Maybe you read it from my stuff, but I also read it somewhere else :P

      It was early in 2007’s pre-season when the people around F1 was commenting that the satellite team is just been created to place the weak sponsors which Honda’s official team attached themselves, and waiting to a greater sponsorship they couldn’t find something decent, and they came out with the Earth livery to announce themselves as a worldwide company thinking about ecology (which wasn’t at all true, but well their intentions were visible and well thought).

      As for me these are rumors inside the rumors, but after have seen that truly they didn’t manage to find anybody important to place in their overalls… This might have part of truth!

  7. NieuweNo Gravatar says:

    If anyone comes over from Indy it should be Scott Dixon. He is consistent on ovals and road courses. Has tested before(i believe)? And seems to have the right stuff for F1. None of this climbing fences when winning races rubbish. Danika is just a rookie still. Maybe in 2-3 years she might be mature enough.

    • Arun SNo Gravatar says:

      Yes, Scott tested for Williams when they were partners with BMW in Paul Ricard and he actually performed well, not far beind Ralfie then, but the 2nd test was a mess, so he did not land in F1. Last year there was a talk (or was it 2006) of bringing him to BMW, but not many rookies are of his age, but now we have Bourdais, whos performing to his expectations. Yes, Scott would be a better fit for F1 to fulfil the american drought.

  8. cdNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t believe she has the talent to be successful. She’s got one win and some top 10 finishes. If I raced for one of the top funded teams in IndyCar, I’d probably be somewhere in the top 10, too. Far more successful drivers have come to F1 from US open-wheel and failed. That doesn’t mean an American can’t succeed, but they have to put the time in.

    Plus, her technical feedback is “the car isn’t fast, you guys have been doing this longer than I have so fix it”. Come on.

    As an American, I’d love to see a countryman succeed in F1, but I fear Danica will be another “entitled” whiner who will make us look bad. If anything, she, along with Scott Speed and Michael Andretti, will be a liability to future American drivers with hopes of someday racing in F1.

    cd’s last blog post..Remembering the USGP – 2003

  9. NieuweNo Gravatar says:

    Yes Scott is from down here. Just like the late D Hulme, we breed them fast :)

  10. [...] week we had here interesting debate on Danica Patrick and her links to F1, especially Honda. Most commentators did not find her move to Formula 1 likely, [...]

  11. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    She doesn’t do well enough in IRL to warrant a test drive, much less a full time seat. I would say she barely ranks in the top 10 drivers of IRL.

    As IRL moves to more road courses, we will see how she fares. My guess is that she will do a little better than on ovals as she came up through carting.

  12. [...] are no North American drivers on Formula 1 grid this year and it is hard to see anyone joining anytime soon. The United States GP has been omitted from calendar this year and at the moment does not feature [...]

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