Danica Patrick – American F1 driver would need the right circumstances to be a big name


AUSTIN, Texas – Danica Patrick says Formula 1 having an American on the grid would only be good for the growth of the sport in the United States if that driver had the right environment to be successful.

Recent reports have linked Andretti Autosport to a Sauber takeover, which would likely be followed by American driver Colton Herta switching from IndyCar to F1. The championship has seen a huge spike in interest in recent seasons and many believe that a local driver is what the sport needs to take it to the next level.

Patrick, an expert on Sky Sport’s F1 coverage for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, agrees it’s true.

“100 percent. You made it,” Patrick told ESPN ahead of this week’s race. “If this is really going to start winning and continue to gain ground in the United States, the fans here are going to need someone to cheer on.

“And while there are definitely some cool personalities in Formula 1 right now, it does mean a bit more when they’re local or at home. I say that about racing as well as compared to other sports – when you live in a city, you live in Indianapolis and you cheer on the Colts, there’s a reason to cheer on a team, in racing there is no reason to cheer on a driver.

“Like, I didn’t have all of Illinois behind me just because I grew up in Illinois, you have to get to know the personalities. So the more they can be known and go out there, they’ll have more. regular .”

Patrick believes his own racing experience shows how important a good or bad situation can be for an emerging talent. She believes that the success of a driver is often as much linked to circumstances as to talent.

“You never really know how the transition from one series to another, from one level to another is going to be going. You see a lot of drivers who maybe haven’t accomplished much at one level and all suddenly you say to yourself, wow, they are amazing.

“Then you see it go the other way where they win it all, make the transition and they don’t seem to be so successful. So there is the transition that you have to understand, how does a pilot adapt no only from the point of view of the car but also from a mental point of view.

“Pressure affects people in different ways. How are they able to deal with transitions and different exposure levels, different demands on their part as a driver, but also what their opportunities look like? Is the car good? “

“Is this a year where… I feel like the best scenario to go into a year, like it happened to me, when I did my first year in IndyCar in 2005, these cars were so fast. almost qualified for pole and won the Indy 500 for my first time.

“I had a handful of poles that year. I was really fast. It solidifies you as a driver because you’re like, oh obviously she can drive. But what if I or does someone else come in a year when the car is not good? Is it them now? Because that will be the first thing that gets blamed.

“If you’re not doing well the driver is the first thing to blame if he’s new. So it really depends on the year and how competitive the car is.”

The United States Grand Prix will air live on ABC at 1:30 p.m. on October 24.

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