Biggest problem stopping female drivers from making it big in F1 – “That happens in England”

Danica Patrick has called for F1 to make female drivers “feel welcome” in the sport, and urged everyone to change their perception of the idea.

Patrick is a former NASCAR and IndyCar driver who moved to Europe to race in various junior categories. She was not treated like her male counterparts, and has made it known on various occasions.

She has specifically called out Bernie Ecclestone for his sexist remarks against women. Back in 2005, Ecclestone infamously said, “Women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances,” in a clear dig at Patrick.

Those comments had widespread consequences, and to this day, fans are not fully welcoming of women in F1. Patrick called for F1 to make female drivers “feel welcome” in the sport, and said the sport’s culture needs to change.

“I can remember some negative things that Bernie Ecclestone said about me, so maybe say nice things!” she said. “Make people feel welcome! I’m sure you can drum up that quote.

“I felt like I was way more welcome when I came home. I felt like people were genuinely excited to have me around; I felt equal, but it didn’t feel like that in England. So maybe that’s part of why you don’t see as many females come through and up the ladder to go to Formula 1.

Danica Patrick at the Indy 500. Indianapolis May 2021.
Danica Patrick (pictured) called for F1 to make female drivers feel welcome in F1. Source:

“What changes that? The people in charge have to change their attitude. It’s like a cultural thing, it’s like a cultural norm.”

Cultural shift

Patrick also stressed on how much the perception and culture has changed from years past, and how much it has to change in the future.

“I don’t know if that’s as much of how it goes in the old world, you know?” she continued.

“I don’t know if that’s normal. I haven’t lived there in a long time, so I would imagine that it’s better than it used to be, of course.

“I know that’s maybe a controversial answer but I had direct experience of it so that is what I felt. I mean, the boss said something about washers and wearing white! I mean, what?! There you go, do I need to say any more when the man in charge of the series is saying things like that?” she concluded her fiery statement.

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