The answer to that, it seems, is a solid maybe. According to the AP, Danica Patrick is on a shortlist of potential drivers for a new, American-based Formula One team that is in creation in Charlotte. And Ken Anderson, the technical director of the new team (called USF1), says that Patrick is definitely under consideration for one of the team’s driver slots.
(Coming soon to a Formula One track near you … if you’re in Europe.)
If Anderson comes through with a multi-million dollar contract, she’ll probably be interested. Call it a hunch. And with an operating budget of $64 million, as well as the nearly limitless endorsement potential for a top F1 driver — former champion Michael Schumacher reportedly raked in $58 million in a season without breasts — it would seem to be as close to a no-brainer for Danica as you could come up with.
Here’s the full quote from what Anderson told the AP:
“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.”
That sounds like Anderson’s getting ready to make Patrick an offer, doesn’t it? If he does, it’ll probably be a good one, too; a fledging team in the world’s richest sport wouldn’t approach a driver unless it was sure it could get them, just to avoid the black eye of being rebuffed if it didn’t.
Of course, a good deal for Danica doesn’t mean it’s a good deal for the rest of us. She’s already out of the country for multiple IRL international races now, and racing in Formula One would ensure she spent most of the year in Europe. That would significantly decrease her opportunities to appear in future swimsuit magazines and calendars, not to mention putting a damper on her tan. Something about Northern Spain, where USF1 will probably keep its winter training center, doesn’t seem as beach-accessible as Miami or L.A.
Then again, something tells us that Danica under the media glare of the European press couldn’t be a bad thing. After all, more exposure means more opportunities to pose for camera, which means more opportunities for future forays into near nude photoshoots. There’s potential there, whether Patrick wants to capitalize on it or not.