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Sign of things to come? — Gene Haas goes from calling Danica Patrick a ‘long shot’ in F1 to ‘a dream driver’

Jun 12, 2014, 9:41 PM EDT

(Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

A week ago in Montreal while preparing to watch Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, Gene Haas said that while Danica Patrick racing in Formula One “would be great for America,” he also called such a prospect “kind of a long shot.”

One week later, Haas is talking more like Patrick may be a potential second driver on his two-car F1 team set to debut in 2016.

In an interview with Formula1.com, Haas appeared to scale back significantly on his doubt of Patrick racing in F1 to a much more positive tone.

“Danica Patrick in one of our cars would be the dream driver,” Haas said.

“She surely fits the bill,” Haas added. “She is a woman in a man’s sport that would attract a lot of attention. She weighs about 50 kilos (roughly 110 lbs.) – which these days sounds fantastic – so indeed she’s got a lot of attributes that would be good to have.”

Haas already co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing, for which Patrick is contracted to race the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for through the 2015 season.

But with Haas’ plans to go F1 racing the following year, Patrick could very well be in the right place at the right time contractually – she could sign a new deal to race in F1 right after her NASCAR deal expires – to become one of the biggest stories the international open-wheel circuit has ever had.

And Haas did little to deny that as a possibility. Consider his answer when asked if he would consider a woman driving for him in F1:

“Definitely, but realistically the first driver is going to be a current F1 driver who knows the ins and outs of the sport, to help us sort out what we have to do and who can give a lot of feedback,” Haas said. “In that mold would be driver number one. Driver number two would be American.”

So is it too much of a stretch to think that driver number two would be an American woman, perhaps?

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  1. manik56 - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    Sounds good in theory, but why would she want to drive for a team at the back of the grid? By the time Haas F1 proves itself (if it ever does), her career may be over. A successful NASCAR career or a move back to IndyCar are much more likely.

    Kyle Busch is the Cup driver I would most like to see in a Cup car. I actively root against him, but he is the best talent in NASCAR and I believe that can carry over to other disciplines in motorsport. At least I am confident he will try the Indy 500 someday soon.

  2. testover6370 - Jun 13, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Good in theory? She has as good of a shot getting a superlicense as Sirotkin does, which is about nil. What little “success” she has achieved has been entirely on ovals. She would make Chilton look like the next Hamilton.

  3. kitnamania13 - Jun 13, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    I suppose Formula One does cause otherwise-sane people to lose their minds.

  4. worknman24hours - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:41 AM

    Danica gets the nod because her presence in the car guarantees the effort will be very well funded.

    Not a hard choice to make when the girl brings almost a hundred million dollars of sponsors worth to the F1 team.

    Racing today is as much about how you market yourself as much as how you drive the car.

    • indycar02 - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      the more i think about this the more danica looks good in f1 (at indy, st 4th fin 4th lead 19 laps as a rookie in 05, st 25th fin 10th led 10 laps in 2011), she could really surprise us (daytona 500 pole), she might even finish better than susie n simona.

  5. sperandiopg - Jun 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    My concerns with Danica are first her age. While there are a few F1 drivers in their 30’s, most are in their 20’s. It’s hard to compete with the reflexes of youth. Secondly, road courses are very different from ovals. You have to turn right sometimes. Thirdly, F1 cars have carbon-carbon brakes and high downforce aerodynamics resulting in incredible corning speeds with forces approaching 5G’s in turns and braking. There would be a steep learning curve.

    Alexander Rossi is young American and was a test driver for Caterham F1 in 2012 and 2013. He already has an FIA Superlicense and currently competes in GP2 so he is familiar with the circuits.

    I would pair him with an experienced F1 driver who Haas could afford. Through the years, a few people have tried to form an ab initio F1 team and they are usually a disaster. It makes more sense for Haas to take an existing F1 team that is available like Caterham and make it American, than take an American team and make it into an F1 team.

    Anyway, good luck to Mr Haas and his team. It will be nice to have an American team in F1!

  6. spa67 - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Talk is cheap. I’ve had it with drivers of both sexes on the grid due to the dollars they bring in and not the talent. I’d love to see Danica with a halfway decent teammate (there are plenty on the bench Kovalainen, Glock, Heidfeld to name a few). When she’s over a second off the pace this BS will be over.

    When people with minimal talent are given top drives it makes motorsports look like a joke from the outside. Every other professional sport is a pure meritocracy. Can you imagine someone playing in the starting lineup for the Yankees because they bring $10 million to the table?

  7. klagfest - Jul 9, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    If this team is going to be the junior Ferrari team like it is being portrayed, they should sign someone from the Ferrari driving acadamy and an American (Alexander Rossi perhaps). Bianchi would be the obvious choice for the Number 1 driver but after some of his recent performances (including today’s test) he might be ready for Kimi’s seat now. Kobyashi would be a good second choice as he could teach Rossi the ropes.

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