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What Passes for News at the Moment

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick: A Welcome Sight in the Paddock?

So here’s the problem, as I see it, with bringing Danica Patrick into F1:  Just think of the confusion it would cause for the people who do the Formula 1 official site photo galleries.  “Wait — what do we use as a caption?! Attractive human female = ‘A welcome sight in the paddock’ or ‘Grid Girl’. But racing driver = actual person with a name and identity!!”  Maybe just say, “Danica Patrick (USA), [Blah Blah] Racing, a welcome sight in the paddock”?

Speaking of Danica Patrick, there’s also this.  It might not be news to you, but it seems Richard Branson felt that having a driver as hot as Danica Patrick could only be an asset to his new F1 team:

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.”

When I first read this, I was disgusted.  I mean, seriously, Branson?  Seriously? Is that something you considered when you approached Glock and di Grassi, as well?

And then it hit me.  HMMMM.

Surely, this “looker” criterion is already being employed in the choosing of male F1 drivers.  Run down the list of current drivers in your head.  Personally, I can think of only a few I wouldn’t classify as either “seriously cute” or “smoking hot” — and, frankly, I probably wouldn’t kick those exceptions out of bed for eating crackers, either.

Lucas di Grassi

Lucas di Grassi, Virgin Racing: Also Quite Hot

So what’s up with that?  Pick twenty-four men in that age bracket at random from the general population, and I think it’s very unlikely they’re going to skew toward the good-looking the way the current F1 drivers do.  I’m not suggesting they aren’t talented or deserving — but perhaps being talented AND hot is a bit of a bonus?

And maybe it’s even more of a bonus now than in the past, in these days of Facebook, YouTube, and the like, and the unprecedented level of access to the drivers they provide.  I mean, nothing against F1 drivers of yore or anything, but. . .think about that for a second, too.  Could most of them have also doubled as fricking runway models in their off time?  Because a lot of these guys totally could.  I’m just saying.

So, for the record, I totally retract my original disgust at Richard Branson’s comments about Danica Patrick.  I had mistaken it for yet another example of women being regarded primarily as ornamentation within the world of Formula 1 — but no!  There was no double standard being employed here.  Branson wasn’t being a pig.  In fact, when he hired di Grassi, he might very well have said something exactly like this: “I’m going to love to have a looker like Lucas drive. He is not only good and quick, he’s a stunner.”  And I’m sure no one would have batted an eyelash.


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