Formula 1 | Danica Patrick: F1 and Ecclestone have never been welcoming

Danica Patrick was a big name among women pilots in the United States in the years 2000 and 2010. The American however made her classes in Europe and her name had been associated with Formula 1 in the middle of the first decade of the century. .

However, she never seriously considered the opportunity, not least because Bernie Ecclestone, then the discipline’s major financier, had had inappropriate comments that didn’t make her feel welcome.

The Briton had indeed been questioned about Danica Patrick, who showed beautiful things across the Atlantic, and replied that women should just be « dressed in white, like all other household appliances ».

Words that fortunately belong to the past on the scale of F1, but which convinced the driver at the time not to return to the Old Continent. She eventually won an IndyCar race (pictured) and ended her career in NASCAR.

« I remember some negative things Bernie Ecclestone said about me, so maybe say nice things! » Patrick smiles to Racer. « Make people feel welcome! »

« Maybe that’s part of why there aren’t many women climbing the ranks to go to Formula 1. What can change that? Managers need to change their attitude. »

« I know that might be a controversial answer, but I experienced it firsthand and that’s how I felt. I mean, the CEO of F1 talked about wearing white and household appliances! I mean, excuse me? Do I need to say more when the disciplinarian said things like that? « 

A difference of consideration between Europe and the USA

Patrick was able to compare England and the United States at the same time, and see a gap in the acceptance of women, especially in a predominantly male environment: « I can speak for the United States and England, I was not well received in England as a woman. »

« I always had the impression that England and Europe were further behind on their social structures and hierarchy, on who does what and on gender dynamics. I don’t know, at Personally, that’s how I felt. « 

“I felt like I was better received when I got home. I felt like people were really happy to have me by their side; I felt equal, but it didn’t was not the case in England. « 

“It’s a cultural thing, it’s a cultural norm. You can see it in the United States, where all kinds of different cultural things are brought to the fore, with a lot of narratives and stories involved. has a lot of initiatives here to make abnormal things normal. « 

“I was there from 1998 to 2001, so over 20 years ago. I’m sure it’s different today, but I know the US is progressing. So even though the world is progressing at the same rate, when I experienced it at the same time, it was at a different stage. « 

A Formula 1 test was never considered

At the time, the name of Danica Patrick was circulating for a possible arrival in Formula 1. However, the main interested party explains that these were only unfounded paddock noises: « That’s what people think, but no one has ever called me. »

“I thought there had to be some kind of marketing angle, because no one ever called me. Or if I was called, it wasn’t directly. If I received a call was not mine directly, and I do not see why it should not have been forwarded to me. « 

“But I don’t think there was really any background to it all. Once I left England, after living there for a few years, I was okay with not going back. « 

« I realized that my success depended on my environment, people, comfort and opportunities. I felt that the opportunities in America were better, and that I was just happier and more secure. comfortable, so I was okay with leaving that behind. « 

No regrets not having driven in F1

She reveals that even in Europe, F1 has never been at the center of its priorities: « And I never wanted to drive a Formula 1 just to say that I did, because I didn’t have to, and it turns out badly at the end of the day. »

« I only got into the things I really care about and luckily I was able to do a good job in the things I really wanted to do. But Formula 1 was not something serious for me. »

She believes, however, that F1 would benefit greatly from the arrival of an American driver today. It is Colton Herta, Andretti driver in IndyCar, who would hold the rope at this level, especially in the context of a takeover of Sauber by Andretti.

“I think that the fact that a Formula One driver is American would really help the sport and its popularity here in the United States. When there is an American driver, it resonates here. Just like there is an American driver. ‘another country, every time a driver wins, it makes a lot of noise in his country. « 

« If an Italian or a German wins, it’s madness. My father and I were watching the documentary on Schumacher, and it was crazy when you see him win in Germany. It’s the same here, if he there was an American pilot, that would be really good for the American public. « 

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