The headline says it all: Patrick eyed for new American F1 team
MADRID -- An American team will be racing in Formula One next year, and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick is a candidate to fill one of the seats.OK, before you go off and have a coronary at the prospect of losing the main attraction for the IndyCar series, please have a seat, take a breath, grab a cold towel if necessary, and kindly recall a few things.
USF1, which will be unveiled Feb. 24, will have a staff of at least 100, a working budget of $64 million and an aim to put two American drivers on the starting grid. The team is looking at several candidates, including the 26-year-old Patrick.
"She's great. She gets a lot of press," USF1 technical director Ken Anderson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "[Indianapolis Motor Speedway president] Tony George would probably be pretty mad with me if I took her out of the IRL but we'll see.
"I don't know if it's something she wants to do. We'd certainly love to test her and go from there."
1. Mrs Hospethal is still under contract for this season with AGR. Does that mean a $60M F1 team couldn't buy out that contract? No, but $60M does go as far as $50-whatever, which is what would be left to try to buy out that contract. Michael Andretti and Kim Green aren't going to jsut give away a sponsor magnet like her.
2. Danica is no where near the best qualified driver available. She's not bad, but if she actually were on this team then it would prove to be little more than a publicity stunt that would last about one season. Why? Because...
3. Danica Patick Incorporated isn't in the business of appearing like a hopelessly unskilled driver. Mock her all you want for hand puppet shows or photo shoots or always scowling like a sour puss, but as a driver she's still quite capable of racing in the Top 5 at most tracks in the IndyCar series schedule. In F1, for a startup team with a fraction of the budget of other, she'd be lucky to score a Top 10. That's a negative for the Danica brand, and suddenly she's about as marketable as Katherine Legge. (Not a slam againt Ms Legge, just noting I don't see her in Supahbow commercials.)
This Mr Anderson probably isn't an idiot, as evidenced by his mere mentioning of Danicker's name which gets him a million bucks worth of free press. But the key part of the quote was "I don't know if it's something she wants to do," which sounds a lot like he hasn't even spoken to her.
As for the idea of an American F1 team, sure that sounds all fine and dandy. But if I had $60M mysterious dollars available I can't imagine using that to start a racing team that's going to get squashed in a racing series that has nearly zero appeal to the average American sports fan. But I don't have $60 meeeellion dollars, so I'll just play along and cheer for them while race at 2:00 am in Malaysia.
For additional analysis on this subject, check out pressdog, 16th & Georgetown, and IRL-O-Rama.