Oh, this title…
Danica Patrick has leapt back into the motor racing headlines by becoming the first woman to secure pole for the 2013 NASCAR Cup opener at Daytona. Previously, the highly popular 30-year-old American, who is stealing the show at the pinnacle of US motor sport, has insisted she has little interest in exploring her options in Formula One. But could more doors open now?
Good grief, I don’t think so. And neither do those in the know:
Sebastian Vettel : “First of all, hats off to Danica for her achievements. But motor sport in the US just has a completely different culture.”
Helmut Marko : “You have to look at Danica’s results in the road races. It’s not enough. We are looking for drivers based on performance, not by quota.”
Niki Lauda : “For ten years. I’ve told Bernie Ecclestone he’s dopey for not getting a woman into Formula One. If we could get a woman into the top six, you would immediately have twice as many fans in front of the TV. It has to be said that the technical level in the US does not compare to the level in Formula One. This is also reflected in the drivers. The last American who had success in Europe was Mario Andretti — and that was in my day!”
The sad thing is, Lauda is right. Chuck a hot woman into the mix and you’re gonna get bums on seats and eyes on the TVs. Take a look at Anna Kournikova who, while a competent tennis player, never won a Grand Slam title and often was never seen after the first round. But her hot little ass was guaranteed to sell more tickets and get higher TV ratings and so she was always invited to tournaments in which she had no chance of progressing to the final.
The list of female F1 drivers is pretty short and unfortunately the latest candidate, Spaniard Maria De Villota, crashed and lost an eye while testing for Marussia last year. She was talented, and at the end of the day I’d rather watch talented drivers than attractive drivers in the World Drivers Championship.