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“Not Enough”: Core F1 Stakeholder Once Gave Danica Patrick a Cold Shoulder, Showcasing Glaring Shortcomings of the Sport – EssentiallySports

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It has been a topic of discussion for years now in the world of F1. However, we are yet to see progress. The issue of debate is the lack or absence of female drivers in the premier racing class. Back in 2013, the American racing driver, Danica Patrick, ignited this debate.
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The 30-year-old grabbed everyone’s attention when she secured pole position for the 2013 NASCAR Cup opener at Daytona. With her pole, Danica Patrick became the first female driver ever to do so at the pinnacle of US motorsport.
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However, despite her outstanding performances in NASCAR, Patrick did not want to explore the world of F1. This was not a surprise to Dr. Helmut Marko, the Red Bull advisor, as he felt the level of competition was different in both genres.
“You have to look at Danica’s results in the road races,” he said. “It’s not enough.”
“We are looking for drivers based on performance, not by quota,” Marko insisted.
Marko’s ideas echo through Red Bull’s young driver development program as well, with no female drivers in their flock.
However, to become more inclusive, multiple teams on the grid have hired female drivers over the years. But all female drivers were hired as development drivers or test drivers. Hence, they took to the track only for test runs during practice sessions.
The progress Formula 1 is making towards inclusivity will surely promote a female driver on the track for a race, sooner rather than later. As per a three-time world champion, a female driver should’ve been behind the wheel years ago.
The former Mercedes chairman, late Niki Lauda, always believed a female driver will hugely benefit the sport. Apparently, the Austrian had been making this suggestion to then CEO Bernie Ecclestone for ages.
“For ten years, I’ve told Bernie Ecclestone he’s dopey for not getting a woman into Formula One,” he said.
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“If we could get a woman into the top six, you would immediately have twice as many fans in front of the TV,” the Austrian concluded.
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However, even Lauda was of the impression Danica Patrick did not have what it takes to survive in the premier class. This is exactly the shortcoming Formula 1 needs to figure out to make the sport more inclusive and add female drivers to the grid.
WATCH THIS STORY: American Drivers to Win an F1 race
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Mahim Suhalka
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