Although Danica Patrick became the first woman to win an open-car event when she captured the Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi in 2008, coming in 5.8594 seconds faster than pole-sitter Helio Castroneves, Stewart-Hass co-owner Gene Haas has no plans to put her behind the wheel on his new Formula 1 team next year. Nor does he intend to offer a spot to NASCAR partner Tony Stewart, who also has a solid background in IndyCar, or even Kurt Busch, who will attempt to qualify for the Indy 500 next month.
The main reason behind the decision is that Haas, who finally was granted his F1 license by Bernie Ecclestone this year after being turned down in 2010, is that he feels “no driver can successfully transfer between the two disciplines without extensive preparation.”
"I think just the thought of jumping into a Formula 1 car from a Cup car would be very, very difficult," Haas stated. "I certainly would never expect any of our current lineup of drivers to want to be able to do that. I think it would almost be impossible to really accomplish that and survive."
Still, Haas would like to hire a “young (experienced) American driver for his Haas Formula team when it hits the grid next season. "The last American to compete in Formula One was Scott Speed in 2007, following Michael Andretti in 1993. Meanwhile the last American to win the F1 World Championship was Mario Andretti (Michael’s father) in 1978.
It should be noted that this is not the first time that Danica’s name has come up as a potential F1 driver since she quit racing in the Verizon Indy Car Series (2005-2011). In fact, Bernie Ecclestone, himself, was interested in finding a place for her just last year.
"There should be no reason why not, providing that we find a team to take her," Ecclestone told FormulaOne.com. "Danica would be good to have with one of the teams now. All the things that people worry about -- whether a woman can cope with the G-forces and all that -- she has proven that she can.”
Patrick, however, has stated that she has no interest in testing, and intends to remain focused on her NASCAR career at this time.