F1 Team Owner Thinks Danica Patrick Is 'Great Candidate' For Seat

Illustration for article titled F1 Team Owner Thinks Danica Patrick Is 'Great Candidate' For Seat

Racing bigwig Gene Haas is getting all his ducks in a row in preparation for the 2016 launch of his new Formula One team. One of those ducks he needs in a row is two drivers. And to that end, he just said he thinks Danica Patrick is a "great candidate" for one of the two seats.

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Cue the pitchforks and/or cheers.

Haas gave the remarks as he was being interviewed by NBCSN's Leigh Diffey about many of the challenges involved in getting the team started. Besides all the Patrick stuff, he dropped some interesting tidbits along the way, like Ferrari and Mercedes not having a lot of time for the upstart Americans contributing to the delay in the team launch.

But towards the end he was asked about the possibility of Patrick becoming the first American to race in an F1 car since Scott Speed in 2007:

Diffey: Okay, really quickly. You have a driver in the Stewart-Haas fold at the moment, in this weight-conscious formula of Formula One, in this era of Formula One, that would be perfect. That driver is Danica Patrick. She has open wheel experience, whether it be in the junior Formula or IndyCar. Would she be a great candidate for Haas Formula 2016?

Haas: I think she would, I think she would. She'd bring an awful lot of viewership, I think it'd be great for America, I think she would be a great candidate. Uh, whether that's going to happen or not, that's, that's, I think that's kind of a long shot there.

Before all of the Danica Patrick haters start coming out of the woodwork, let me just say that both Diffey and Haas make good points in her favor. She would have no problem competing with guys like Daniil Kvyat (who weighs just 127 pounds) in today's F1, where drivers hurt themselves just to make weight. She's also already familiar with the team behind Haas F1, and she has open-wheel experience.

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Plus she'd be great for publicity, as Haas notes, and he did say she's a long shot.

But then again, she has her critics. Full video of the interview is below:

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Think she'd make a good F1 driver? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo credit: Getty Images

DISCUSSION

She's a better open-wheel driver than a stock car driver, in my opinion. And I think her results bear that out. Everyone seems to hate her because of the media attention she gets while being a mid-pack Cup driver at best. It has nothing to do with any lack of skill (and it should never, ever go un-stated when someone says otherwise, that she has a TON of skill) and everything to do with "oh she's a woman and we have to hear about her constantly and she's not that great". There are equal parts misogyny and general disrespect for having to see her and hear her and hear about her so often.

That all being said, I wouldn't necessarily be surprised to see her go F1 racing, but she'd need a few Dev years first. And I wouldn't expect her to succeed in F1. That would have absolutely nothing to do with her talent, and everything to do with equipment. F1 is 1,300,419% dependent upon your team, its finances, and its mechanical prowess. F1 is about car way more than the driver. SebVet didn't suddenly become a worse driver over the winter while Daniel Ricciado and The Nico's spent more time in gokarts and figured something out. No, it's 70/30 car to driver. I think this would mean that the odds are stacked against Patrick. She's better with no fenders than she is with them, but it's unbelievably hard to field a podium-competitive F1 team and I don't think Haas will have one of those inside 3 years, and would be blown away if she'd last that long in F1 with the odds against her.

TL;DR — She could. She's got great skill, and is better at open-wheel than fender-ful racing. But her skill goes only as far as the quality of the team, and Haas won't be competitive in the near future.