Ex-IndyCar and NASCAR racer Danica Patrick has come under criticism from some for comments suggesting the skillset and mindset needed for racing is not natural for females.
Patrick is one of the most well-recognised and successful female racers as a race winner in IndyCar during her career, while also boasting extensive experience in IndyCar.
And Formula 1 is now intent on inspiring a generation of new female drivers to in the future break up the all-male grid, with Lella Lombardi the last female racer to make a grand prix start all the way back in 1976.
Danica Patrick gives controversial view on women in motorsport
With Patrick now a part of the Sky F1 broadcast team, it came as a surprise and disappointment to some observers when she offered a rather negative take on the chances of females progressing into Formula 1, suggesting it is “not normal” for the “feminine mind” to be geared towards what is needed to make that happen.
Asked by a young girl during an ‘F1 juniors’ broadcast, which filtered into Sky F1’s coverage across the Hungarian GP weekend, if she would like to see women compete in Formula 1, Patrick said: “As I’ve always said in my whole career, it takes 100 guys to come through to find a good one, and then it takes 100 girls. That takes a long time to find a good one, right?
“It’s just, the odds are not in favour of there always being one or being many of them.
“And at the end of the day, I think that the nature of the sport is masculine. It’s aggressive.
“You have to, you know, handle the car – not only just the car because that’s skill, but the mindset that it takes to be really good is something that’s not normal in a feminine mind, a female mind.
“You have to be like, for me, I know if somebody tries to bow up to make it difficult on me, I would go into like an aggressive kill mode, right?
“You just want to go after them, and that’s just not a natural feminine thought. I say that because I’ve asked my friends about it, and they’re like, ‘Yeah, that’s not how I think.’”
Following the collapse of the W Series, Formula 1 launched the new all-female F1 Academy category in the effort to create opportunities for female racers to work their way up the junior ladder into Formula 1.
Marta García leads the Drivers’ Championship with two rounds and six races of the inaugural 2023 campaign remaining.