Editor's Blog
August 12, 2010

Don't write off Danica

Posted on 12/08/2010

© Sutton Images

Few subjects this year – other than anything involving Michael Schumacher – have attracted as much feedback as that of suggestions Danica Patrick could be signed to drive for an F1 team in 2011.

While Patrick herself has previously denied any interest, it seems unlikely that were the right offer to be made she would turn it down. The boost to her profile as a driver and a celebrity/pin-up would be a strong reason for her to do a u-turn.

Despite all the disparaging feedback comments suggesting otherwise, Patrick can drive. However, while few seem willing to express the view publically, it cannot be denied that the level of media interest in her is largely because of her looks. It may be slammed as sexist, but we are talking about a sport where races at all levels are accompanied by a bevy of models and pit babes. Motor racing is about speed, excitement and glamour. On her day, Patrick ticks all three boxes.

True, her record is mediocre, and certainly were Patrick male or, dare it be said, not attractive enough to warrant the interest of a string of men’s magazines for glamour shoots, then she would not even have registered on Bernie Ecclestone’s radar. But she has won once – a middling IRL event on an Oval track in Japan in 2008 – and had a few other decent finishes.

Many experts believe the physical stresses and strains of driving in today’s F1 preclude a woman from taking part. Most of Patrick’s experience comes on Oval circuits in the USA which are physically less demanding. The transition could be the4 one thing that stands in her way.

Richard Branson admitted he had approached her with a view to driving for Virgin in 2010 but she had turned him down. “I would have loved to have had a looker like Danica drive," he said. "She is not only good and quick, she's a stunner.”

His then team principal, Alex Tai, was more realistic, saying the team had looked but not found anyone. "There isn't really a female out there right now who could do it," he said. "This is a really physical and exhausting sport and they would find it hard to cope."

However, we are talking F1 where money rules – how else would the likes of Sakon Yamamoto get a drive? – and for all the ridicule, the idea of Patrick in F1 should not be dismissed. She would attract a level of interest wholly disproportionate to her ability and for a bottom-end team that would translate into vital sponsorship opportunities. If anyone doubts that watch TV coverage from the USA when she is racing and see how much exposure she gets even when not near the front.

One way or the other, we haven’t heard the last of Danica Patrick.

Comments

Posted by Phillip Bupp on 12/08/2010

I have to respectfully decline this idea. The last thing the US needs is someone who is doing a mediocre job in Indy Car and doing even worse in NASCAR to try F1 and fail miserably but only got the ride because she's hot. You do that to judge a beauty pagent, not drive a race car.

American fans of F1 have suffered a lot of crap and many black eyes over the years, we don't need to be treated like this. People like Jonathan Summerton and Alexander Rossi are working through the system and would be more appropriate American racers for F1.

And if F1 is so committed to having a woman race, Simona de Silvestro is a better candidate. Although she isn't American, the fact that she's a rookie in Indy Car and is kicking Danica's butt on road courses in far worse equipment shows she has what it takes to race and race well. Simona deserves a shot in F1 more than Danica.

Posted by lewis dana on 12/08/2010

Fascinating that Bernie E. now suggests Danica as a possible. It was not so long ago that he said, at Indy, in response to a request for his opinion on woman racing drivers and Danica in specific, something like, "Women should wear white to match the color of their home appliances..."

Posted by Don Drennon on 12/08/2010

Second Phillip's comments: I would prefer a more suitable candidate. US fans would never hear the end of it were she to turn in mediocre performances. I wish Scott Speed had been able to hang on at Toro Rosso.

I will disagree with critics on one point: Danica is absurdly fit. She could handle the physical demands.

Posted by João on 12/08/2010

It would be a disaster for Danice if she went for F1. She´s smarter than that! Simona on the other hand seems to me a much better possbility!

Posted by madotter on 12/08/2010

@Phillip - Danica is currently doing better in IRL than Simona.

Posted by srini on 12/08/2010

Well As said before, this is a exhausting sport and for sure she would struggle to cope up. considering the fact she doesn't have great experience at regular tracks where even professional drivers here struggle with tracks like Monaco and Hungary which are very tight and demanding.Danica is not needed in F1 right now just for the very reason of making Bernie's job easier to market F1 in US. Its unrealistic i would say.

Posted by glen gorton on 12/08/2010

I have been a long time F1 fan ( back to the 70's)and there is-bad, fair, good, better, best and excellent. Danica is just fair as a road racer and she would never survive the teeth of F1. Really tired of the spotlight so focused on just a fair race driver. Summerton and Rossi are "excellent" road racers and should be our F1 candidates to represent the USA.

Posted by KenC on 12/08/2010

I have tremendous respect for Danica, as she did not take the easy way when climbing the racing ladder, moving to England in her teens to race Formula Ford, where she did extremely well at the FFF at Brands Hatch, better than any American previously.

However, her recent form is just not good enough for F1. Currently Simona Desilvestro is racing better. Danica was better earlier in her career. She has had too many distractions, many of her own doing.

As for the physicality of F1, that's a joke. That, Danica could handle. The G-forces on an oval are far higher and for longer sustained periods than the short spikes in F1. Ask Nigel about the physicality of driving on an oval. As for driving the car, Indycar does not use power steering, as does F1. The upper body strength required is less in F1.

The knock against Danica isn't her lack of physical capability to drive the car, it's her current lack of speed, due to lack of focus. If she focused on getting to F1, she might be able to do it

Posted by Dan Rimski on 12/08/2010

To call her record "mediocre" is being kind. 1 win in 90 starts is not a good record. She keeps her job because the attention she garners from the knuckle draggers in the stands not her performance on the track. If good drivers like Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Scott Speed cannot make it in F1 then she has no chance. Even Sebastian Bourdais failed. Montoya had some success but came from CART not IRL. IRL it too low tech to be a training ground for F1. It's been a long dry patch since Mario!

Posted by Alex Young on 12/08/2010

I would rather see Simona DeSilvestro in F1 personally...

Posted by Richard Knopf on 12/08/2010

I don't see Danica driving in F1 happening at all, and I'm an American. She is already working on her new NASCAR career and NASCAR, not Indy Cars or F1, is America's racing king. Neither IRL or F1 will touch NASCAR's popularity for at least a decade.

Danica may be as good a pinup model as she is a driver, but she isn't going to stay young forever and she will want to be more famous for her driving than for her swimsuit pictures. Therefore she is VERY likely to have long career in NASCAR where sponsors will gladly line up for a female driver and ensure that she will have a ride no matter how few wins she is able to secure.

Danica has expressed in various interviews that she felt from her F3 days that the F1 circus are very clannish compared to Indy teams. She also felt that the Europeans over there were sexist and wouldn't be able to handle losing to a girl. She would need to be offered Raikkonen money to even consider getting her butt kicked regularly with an entry-level team.

Posted by rick M on 12/08/2010

She has a ride because she is a woman with sponsorship; even Sarah Fisher shows up once in a while on ovals to finish a number of laps down. Patrick is with one of the better teams and is consistantly the last of their drivers during qualification and the race on road courses; there aren't many ovals in F1. Her only Indy Car win was due to a pit stop strategy with an abreviated field.

Sponsorship is the golden word. Why no Paul Tracy; no sponsor. If you want more competion against Penske and Target, Andretti cannot provide it except for one competative driver and it is't Patrick. The reason teams race is to win and make money. If she didn't have sponsorship, she would be looking for another career.

The real issue isn't her going to F1, it should be what can make Indy racing more competitive by bringing in real drivers. Even Dario made a comment that Paul Tracy would be good for Indy cars.

Posted by Anonymous on 12/08/2010

None of the F1 teams even respect American racing. It took Sebastian Bourdais 4 titles to even get a shot at F1. Yet all this interest in someone with mediocre IRL performance? The F1 drivers would eat her lunch!

Posted by Dennis W on 12/08/2010

Actually, Bernie said "...women should wear white to match THE OTHER kitchen appliances..."

nice

Posted by Doug Mc on 12/08/2010

What about Milka? Why can't she have a shot first, she has certainly paid her dues.

Posted by Tomislav on 12/08/2010

What Bernie and others are looking at, is raising the popularity of F1 in USA. I can agree that Danica might be just an OK or even mediocre driver, but she did more for wider popularity of IRL than any other driver in recent years. The other driver that might be in the same ballpark is maybe Helio, but he's there because of dancing, tax problems and short fuse. Good racing skills are more or less a nice add-on. Of'course, hard core fans will disagree, but hard core fans of any sport exist despite its wider audience. When all boils down, competitive racing, just like any other modern sport, is a money making machine, and sponsors play the biggest role. Honestly, looking at GoDaddy's customer base on one side, and hard core racing fans on the other, I don't see a much of an intersection.

Posted by H3llR4iser on 12/08/2010

I have a feeling that the physical problem is actually a false one; Women are capable of as much stamina as men do. There are performance differences when it comes to extreme training in a specific field - say running, or swimming - but drivers are more "all rounders", meaning they need a high level of conditioning but no specialty, except perhaps the neck muscles. Guess she (or any other lady driver) could do it physically.

The problem as somebody stated is about focus. At the start of her IRL career, she shown she has the raw speed, but right now she's more focused about the media swirl than the driving, and it would get worse in F1.

Nonetheless, the hope would be that she could prove that a woman has a place at the top levels of motorsports and encourage more to take part in it.

Posted by Phillip Bupp on 12/08/2010

@madotter - Danica's finishing better than Simona I'll give you that. But I don't think Simona's ever raced on ovals before this year so that's a steep learning curve. That and F1 could care less about ovals so that's out.

Simona is a rookie and Danica is in her 6th season. Simona is in an underfunded car while Danica drives for Michael Andretti which is arguably the 3rd best team in the series.

With all that, Danica should be dominating Simona, but much of the time she's just doing slightly better. Give Simona a better car and experience and see what happens.

And I'm not saying Danica's unqualified either. I agree with others on here, that she is a great driver but has a lack of focus. Add into the fact that the media put her on so high of a pedestal and you see what happens. She wants to do different things due to the opportunites presented to her and I don't blame her, but you gotta be able to be great in what you're doing first before worrying about other endeavors.

Posted by George on 12/08/2010

As much as I'd like to see Danica in F1 she doesn't do well in road courses. She suffers from Nascar syndrome she can only drive in circles.

Posted by Steve Sharp on 12/08/2010

He is both correct and incorrect... Danica is not going to take a role as a backmarker in F1, why should she? Danica is certainly not going to pay to drive in F1 either...

He is correct that she can drive... she may not be the type of driver that can take a "B" car by the scruff of the neck and go to the front... But neither is Michael Schumacher...

In fact, I think Danica might hold her own in F1. Hell, it would be the first time since karts that the vehicle she raced was made to fit her!

Posted by Kyle W on 12/08/2010

While I can certainly understand why a backmarker would be interested in Danica, would she really bring more sponsorship than a driver with backing from his home country? Sure she would raise the profile of the team, but look at the distractions she brings with her. I agree with KenC that the physical toll of F1 wouldn't be a problem at all for her, but she's been mediocre at best on road courses the past 2 years. She's currently 15th in IndyCar road course points, well behind all 3 of her teammates. And this is a series that boasts F1 reject Justin Wilson as one of its road course stars. The only IndyCar driver capable of being on an F1 grid right now is Will Power, with a possibility of De Silvestro and Graham Rahal to develop into F1 caliber drivers.

Posted by James on 12/08/2010

Danica is suffering from the same problem as Anna Kournikova. Once she reached the higher levels of her profession, the attention went from her performance to her appearance. Photo shoots take precedence over testing and practice. She has the natural talent, just like AK did, but without the focus she simply cannot compete with the guys who REALLY want to win (and don't get paid for bikini shoots).

Posted by Danx on 12/08/2010

I think the USA has had enough embarrassments with Formula 1 to bring another potential big embarrassment. Yes she will bring a lot of attention at the start, but I seriously think that if she wasn't fast in indy, she will not be fast in Formula 1. Could you imagine her driving one of those Virgin cars which are already off-pace with Timo Glock driving it? She would be slower than a GP2 car.

I want Formula 1 to grow in the USA and maybe some day turn motor sports into something glamorous instead of a sport for rednecks.

Posted by jake moore on 12/08/2010

Name a male driver who could drive around in mid pack race after race and still keep their ride?Im sure there are some in F-1 who would like to see Danica try, however after the gloating and smirking at the demise of US F-1, I wonder at the ulterior motive to see Danica in the car. Bernie's is no fan of American racing, remember the "lazy racing" comment on Indy cars? I will wait for a well financed team and a competitive driver

Posted by kev on 12/08/2010

in all fairness its her choice. if she doesnt wanna drive in f1 thats her call especially if the offers are only coming from 2bit teams like virgin or hrt mainly to bring in advertising revenue because shes hot.

anyway i prefer Sabine Schmitz. now shes a stunner...

Posted by Josh on 12/08/2010

Danica is the equivalent of Anna Kournikova. Good enough to be there, but not good enough to win anything major.
I'd hate to see a woman get an F1 gig and get smashed every race. There are better female drivers out there, some are even prettier than Danica.

Posted by John B on 12/08/2010

I think we all agree that Danica would be getting the drive for the wrong reasons if so. Let's not forget that Sebastien Bourdais of all people struggled to get to grips with F1 after dominating the american open-wheel scene. I think if USA needs to be represented someone like Alex Rossi is a better candidate, and if Bernie wants a woman, he should look at someone like Natacha Gachnang.

Posted by Tom Coffman on 13/08/2010

Sponsorship dollars can be the only justification. Unless oval tracks are added to the schedule! Her road record Is horrendous.

Posted by Chris on 13/08/2010

Danica is very good at IRL oval races. Her performance on road/street tracks ranks somewhere between pathetic and embaressing!

Posted by USGPFan on 13/08/2010

I am obligated to address a gross factual error in this blog post. I have female colleagues who are flying combat missions in hi-performance jet aircraft which FAR exceeds the performance of F1 cars. The selection criteria, training, and assigned missions are in no way split along gender lines. Saying that women cannot physiologically drive F1 cars is exactly the same as saying "black people can't see well at night". It has no basis in any fact and stems from bias and ignorance.

Posted by Jean on 13/08/2010

I can't say Danica would not make it in F1 , with her experience and if she wanted too , I guess she could do well enough in a good car. As far as attractive looks go , there is nothing wrong with her , but the same goes for millions of other ladies in the world , so I don't see that as a factor to consider.

Posted by davez on 13/08/2010

Her technical feed-back is none. She uses her teammate's car set-up. There is no way she could fully understand a Formula 1 car.

Posted by Doogie on 13/08/2010

Danica is NOT F1 material...period!!!!

Posted by Matthew on 13/08/2010

I can totally write off Danica. Simona De Silvestro is in her rookie year and improving leaps and bounds with every race in the season with a fraction of the budget that Danica has and out dated equipment (her chassis is heavier due to it being an older model). She has begun to learn from other drivers strengthens and weaknesses and improved more and more in every qualification and race. Screw Danica, she is a name and her place in Indycars is the first woman that was competitive and hats off to her on that because she did that be but this new breed coming in show more potential then she ever had! Ana Beatriz is another name that comes to mind. Danica did a lot for Indy and a lot for woman drivers by showing they can be competitive but dont let that fool you into thinking she is anything special.

Posted by Al C on 13/08/2010

Please not another USA shame!!! Her boss MA couldn't make it in F1 and I hope he guides her away from it. She is better off staying with the IRL or making the move to NASCAR as anticipated. Let the young lions that are battling now in the lower formula classes work their way up to F1.

Posted by Dave C on 13/08/2010

She's too old to start in F1. She should have done it a long time ago if she were serious. davez is correct in that she can't set up a car without copying someone else.

Posted by Rich on 13/08/2010

If she or anyone is serious about giving F1 a shot, she should do a full season of GP2 Then we'll see what she's got or not!

Posted by Tomislav on 13/08/2010

Just look at the number of comments this post has generated. Sponsorship money is what drives sports this day, and the only reason they crave winnings is the exposure. Danica's results prove that the winnings are not really necessary to achieve that goal. Outside of IRL core fan base, there are more people that associate GoDaddy than Izod with the sport.

Posted by Lahm on 13/08/2010

Danica belongs in the sissy league that is IRL. There is no way she would make it in F1 and would end up crying and b!tching like she always does. The ONLY reason this is even under consideration is for the money that it could potentially bring. They don't care if she comes in last every race as long she brings in money, which she would, but when it comes time to race, she'd under perform, just like she always does in IRL. 1 win in 6 years? How in the world is that good enough for Formula 1?

Posted by USAMike on 13/08/2010

I think we have established that the only reason Danica should be in F1 is for marketing. I'm tired of the marketing side of F1 dominating the sport. Let's focus on the real reason WE all follow F1, the cars, circuits and of course the racing. We need to fix the cars so they can follow each other into fast corners. Forget Danica.

Posted by Dening on 14/08/2010

You would never take Danica into F1 full time as it'd be a pay cut and a tougher life.

The best thing F1 could do for the local markets is 3rd cars at selected events, perhaps non points scoring but still classified runners(ie they can still place but won't receive points). This would be brilliant if a US or other local drivers could do a few events around the world, it would generate great publicity. Granted they wouldn't win, things are too refined to just jump in, plus any IRL, NASCAR or other driver couldn't neglect their own series to prepare for it. But just seeing how well they do will give people what they want and a great story over a race weekend. It would be a no lose situation if say Jimmie Johnson drove a guest Williams in Canada and Austin only. Or in the future a suitably qualified Korean driver could do Japan and Korea or perhaps a Japanese Suzuka specialist like the wildcards in bike racing.

Posted by Rich on 14/08/2010

@ Ken C - G Forces on an oval course are around a sustained 2G lateral with occasional 3 - 3.5 G lateral forces. Formula on cars have G forces of up to 3G on acceleration, up to 5G on braking and 4.5G in corners, up to 25 times a lap in opposing directions. So your assertion that oval racing is much more G intense is unfounded and incorrect. Danica is not used to the massive braking and cornering forces generated by a Formula 1 car, but I am sure she could get used to it quickly.

Posted by roger pedrick on 14/08/2010

Anyone who comes second at the demanding UK Formula Ford Festival deserves a crack at F1.

Posted by Mark Scott on 14/08/2010

Danica, like it or not, is just a mid-pack driver, in a series, that is nowhere near as demanding as F1.

Do you want to see a race with race drivers or not??!!

If Danica was a race driver that would be different, but she isn't.

Posted by bronnie on 15/08/2010

It would be much more fun to watch Danica driving around in the mid field than an old "has been" like Jarno Trulli (who has never lived up to his reputation)or Pedro de la Rosa, etc.

Posted by pater001 on 15/08/2010

If what is needed is more "hotness" and glamour, have the pitbabes topless but avoid Danica to make the worst mistake of her life.

Posted by The Monk on 15/08/2010

Danica could make it in F1....As a grid girl!

Posted by Snake on 15/08/2010

Danica would've been better prepared for F1 had she gone to IF3000 (which is what it was back then) after Toyota Atlantics instead of the IRL. She did really well in Toyota Atlantics. She was quick everywhere and had numerous podium finishes, so IF3000 would've been the next great step, but instead she went to an oval-only series and her road racing pedigree has been all but lost since. Jackie Stewart said many years ago that she was America's best hope of having a driver in F1, and this was before anyone knew who she was, but I think it's too late now. She seems more preoccupied with her brand than her racing these days. She is not driving this year the way she has in years past. The way she was constantly improving, every year finishing higher in the final standings than she did the year before.....it's all gone. She wants into NASCAR where the major publicity and money in the US is, and (more importantly) where more ovals are, and, as we know, oval racing is 98% car, 2% driver.

Posted by Ash on 15/08/2010

"What about Milka?"

The same Milka Duno whose qualifying strategy at all non-oval tracks is to sit out the whole session and start from the very back? The same Milka Duno whose race strategy on non-oval tracks is to circulate jerkily for a few laps, ten seconds or more off the pace, until the leaders approach to lap her, and then park the car?

She'd be a star, no doubt about it.

Then again, she does have the dollars. Maybe HRT would be interested.

Posted by Joe Rodriguez on 15/08/2010

Danica will deliver, F1 needs race drivers will charisma and can add excitement to the sport. The present crop of drivers are boring with the exception of winners this year. It appears the cars are more exciting than the drivers, bring on Danica for 2011

Posted by robert hoare on 15/08/2010

I seen her race many times and although she has a high level of talent but thier is no way in hell she could compete in F1. I think that her lack of success on street courses and mediocre results on ovals preclude her driving an.F1. Besides she is not strong enough physicly. but she is HOT!!!

Posted by Giuseppe Savarese on 15/08/2010

I have seen Danica running at Indianapolis two years ago. 1) She is fast if her car is fast 2) She was faster than at least 20 drivers in that race 3) 4-5G accelaration in IRL guarantees she fits 4) People at Indianapolis were all hoping she could win 5) Look at her official website. She knows how to "sell" herself. At this stage she is brigtfully selling herself to F.1. 6) She should have a good car in F.1, at least a mid grid car 7) This stupid rule of reducing tests should be aborted. She would need 3 days to get familiar with a F.1 car, much more complex to drive than an Indy car

Posted by Senna66 on 16/08/2010

I can't believe people are even talking about this. She would be to slow to even be allowed to race in F1. She’s a lower mid pack driver in a series with maybe 3 or 4 mediocre drivers.

Posted by Keith Kenyon on 16/08/2010

I agree that Danica may not be good enough but women can do Formula 1. For many years women were banned from running ultra-marathons 'because they were not strong enough'. When they did some ran very close to the very front of fields with over 10000 competitors. Female tri-athletes are strong - many doing brilliantly in 'Iron Man' type competitions. For a woman to do well in modern F1 she has to be mentored and groomed from a very young age in the way that has happened with Lewis Hamilton - not many Dads ever think of putting their daughters through that kind of basic training.

Posted by Robert Nash on 16/08/2010

There have been plenty of male drivers who have come into F1 who were not outstanding drivers. Every now and then someone surprises and steps up. I think if Danica was keen to do it and was committed, it would add an extra level of interest to the sport even if she didn't get beyond mid field. If she did do well a lot of people on this thread would be eating their hats.

Posted by lloyd on 16/08/2010

I think Bernie is just stirring the pot. He needs to generate interest in F1 in the US. By mentioning that our most famous mediocre driver would be good for F1, he has most US racing fans talking about F1 in one way or another. Isn't that what is needed to run a successful USGP?

Posted by Tom on 16/08/2010

She has no record to suggest that she can perform at a consistently high-level on road courses. She would simply be a back-marker and if she wishes as much, and is given a ride, then best of luck to her.

The learning curve would be longer than the marketing buzz. Consider how quickly she was lapped at the Michigan Nationwide race this past week. And this is on an oval where she has raced in the past. Admittedly a new car, but she'll find the characteristics of an F1 car to be challenging too.

Posted by Vincenzo on 17/08/2010

It would even more fun to watch how many times the Red Bulls, Ferraris, and McLarens lap Danica at each race meeting... I reckon the bookies would have odds for that! At the last race (Hungary) Yamamoto was down by 4 laps... I'd reckon Danica would be 8 or more laps.

Posted by Ray Fletcher on 17/08/2010

Yo got to be kidding, yech

Posted by impulse60 on 26/08/2010

There is no other driver who has done so little, and has garnered so much. She won one race, and is currently average somewhere around 25th place this season in cars with fenders. Just plain stop!

Posted by brad hoyt on 28/08/2010

You all give far too much due to F1. As a recent F1 Historique champion I can tell you it is a brilliantly fun track and not the least bit physically demanding. It requires absolute concentration and excecution but not extreme conditioning. Nonetheless, Danica would serve Trulli a large helping of whoopass as well as most of us. She is very capable and her size and weight are compatible with F1. Success in other series does not necessarily translate to F1 - see the Michael Andretti debacle. Fact is - who knows? You won't know until she tests, but conditioning and talent are there in spades regardless. As for motivation, of course Bernie Relicstone needs her for his bore-ass parade series filled with whos and weres. She would instantly be the most famous driver and hugely expand/retain their fan base. He better giterdun! PS How long did it take JPM to adapt to NASCAR?

Posted by Barry on 09/09/2010

she is not fast enough, nor has the skill set to drive at that level.

Posted by John on 23/09/2010

The Top 2 teams each year should each be allowed to run 3 cars, IF they agree to run a woman in the 3rd car.

The likely inferiority of the women drivers would then be somewhat compensated by them having a fast car and they might not finish quite so far behind.

Danica and Simona would be fine for year 1 of that concept with the places up for grabs for whoever tests fastest thereafter.

Posted by Gary on 28/11/2010

I think it will take one more year of Danica losing in Indy Car and struggling racing stock cars part-time, to make her WANT to jump over to Formula One. Naysayers said that she would never jump over to NASCAR and they were WRONG and the same thing is *eventually* going to happen with F1.

*Someone in F1 is going to make Danica an offer that she simply cannot refuse.* It's just a matter of the timing. As a teenager she raced against one Jenson Button and held her own...wait a minute didn't he win a World Champtionship?!?

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