Retired Indycar and Nascar star Danica Patrick will be part of Sky Sports F1 commentary team for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas alongside Jenson Button and Martin Brundle.
Patrick is the most successful and recognizable female racer in history and remains a household name Stateside amid her retirement from racing.
The 39-year-old said of her role this weekend at COTA: “I’m really excited. I love the fact that we’ve got Lewis trying to be the GOAT with most wins, most poles and most championships, and he’s really looking to win his eighth, against someone who’s young, hungry and just dying to make that not happen for him. It’s been so interesting to watch.”
Danica added on Motorsport.tv: “I definitely think that the Netflix series Drive to Survive has been a big deal. I’ve had so many people over the years come to me and say: ‘Hey, have you seen that? Did you see that? Wow, I’m super interested in Formula 1 now.’ I think that it humanises, that it gives it storylines, it’s a way to really try and understand what’s going on in the sport.”
She also has a recipe for greater Formula 1 success in her country: “If there was an American driver that they could cheer for, then I think that what you’d see is more coverage here. Whether it be you know, late-night TV magazines, morning news, just sports coverage in general; there’d be a reason to cover it, and I think that would definitely help.”
Patrick has a well-cultivated image in the USA with memorable photoshoots to promote her career, including a shoot with FHM men’s magazine (pictured above) and of course the famous Sports Illustrated shoot that turned her into a sports A-Lister, where she remains to this day.
Fans voted her Indycar Series Most Popular Driver from 2005 through to 2010.
By way of introducing the racer we will be listening to this weekend, here are some of Danica’s more famous quotes:
- I’ve never seen myself as a ‘girl driver.’ I’m just a driver.
- Since I started in Nascar, popularity has definitely gone up. I’ve become more attractive and helpful to companies that are looking for spokespersons. So from that perspective, things are going really well.
- I was very against pink and purple when I was young, because they were girls’ colors. But that was only because I didn’t want people to write me off for what I can do. When I got into my 20s, I decided that was stupid.
- I spent my whole childhood watching open-wheel racing. I spent years going to England and racing open wheel, coming back and racing open-wheel. It’s been my world for 20 years and beyond that. For almost my whole life, I’ve been watching it. I watch it and I think I know how to do it.
- No matter how good you are, how brave you are or anything, it comes down to that car so many times. Not every time, but so many times.
- I’ve never asked for special treatment along the way. And I’m never going to hide the fact that I’m a girl, ever. That’s obvious, isn’t it?
- I’m a big believer in everybody being themselves. If not doing a swimsuit calendar is yourself, that’s great. But if doing a swimsuit calendar is yourself, then you should be able to do it. What I do outside the car adds to who I am and expresses a different side of me.
- I’m not tall enough to be a model, but I wish I was 6-foot, because I love it. It’s kind of artsy, and I’m artsy. And I love clothes.
- Every single aspect of myself, let me put it this way, it’s all about trying to incorporate. It’s about trying to weave the web and keep everyone happy. And of course, it’s about giving value to those people so they continue to sponsor me.
- Maybe back in the day you didn’t need to be the greatest looking to be on TV and you didn’t need to speak the best, but in this day and age, I think you need to be the package. You need to look the part for your sponsors, you need to be able to speak the part for the media and to big CEOs.
- The first Indy was definitely the one I remember. It’s my favorite race I’ve ever done. It’s the most memorable race I’ve ever done, for sure. Even more than when I won. I just remember everything about it.
- I’ve never been bashful to say that I’m not really interested in Formula 1. When I lived in England, it’s all I wanted to do and I thought that anything else would somehow be a compromise to my dreams. But then when I came back to the States, I realized how much I loved being back in the States.
- The commitments, schedule and sponsor appearances don’t change. It gets more busy, because you get more popular, and the more popular you are, it actually gets busier. They’re like, ‘Yeah, let’s use her, she’s hot right now. Let’s do a shoot!’
Patrick’s impressive career as a pioneering woman includes 116 starts in Indycar where she finished on the podium seven times, once as a winner (Motegi 2008) and 2005 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.
Her Nascar career spanned 191 races over seven years, in which she never won but did score seven top-ten finishes.
Patrick never got a chance at F1, although it was known that Bernie Ecclestone did show a passing interest. She nearly landed a test drive with Honda, but the project collapsed in 2008 and that never happened.