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
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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