Written by Alejandra Guajardo Lozano, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri
Danica Patrick is a former American racing driver, and has raced in both IndyCar and NASCAR. She is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, and the first and only woman (until now) to win an Indycar race. Being such a successful woman in Motorsport, many young girls look up to her, as well as her career.
With this said, let’s move on to the comments she made in an interview, with a young girl, during the F1 Junior’s Broadcast. The young interviewer asked for Patrick’s thoughts on women competing in Formula One in the future. You would think that Danica, as a woman, would say something inspiring and encouraging for the young girls watching the broadcast to follow their dreams. Instead, she stated:
“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,” Patrick continued. “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.’”
Her comments created an outburst in the Formula One community, and for obvious reasons. Danica has a huge responsibility, being a public figure who girls look up to. It makes hearing her say this on a broadcast aimed at younger generations of girls really disappointing, in my opinion.
Future female drivers are between the ages of 5-10 years old right now, and at that age, what you hear your idols or the TV say really sticks with you. So hearing her say that women don’t have the “killer mentality” or “aggression” to be in Formula One because it’s a “masculine trait” is upsetting and discouraging on so many levels.
Having the mentality of an F1 driver is a thing most people (emphasis on people) don’t have, not women, people in general. Thinking you have to “think like a man” or stop being “stereotypically female” to be a winner is a really outdated and disappointing opinion, especially coming from a woman who participated and won a race in a world-class field of men.
Danica is entitled to her opinion, but I don’t think sharing it on a broadcast aimed at kids interested in the sport was the most appropriate place to do so. So yeah, her comments were upsetting and extremely hurtful to younger girls dreaming of becoming Formula One drivers, and to the Women in Motorsport movement. What are your thoughts on Danica’s comments? Make sure to share them in the comments.