'Happy' Danica: No contact from F1 team
IndyCar star Danica Patrick says she has not been contacted by anyone from the new, American Formula One team and has no plans to leave the IndyCar Series.
Ken Anderson, one of the principals in the team that will be formally announced next week in Charlotte, N.C., has said Patrick is a candidate to fill one of the team's seats.
In a phone interview Friday with The Associated Press, Patrick says she's flattered by the team's interest but is happy where she is.
"You know, it starts with a phone call, and I haven't heard anything," says Patrick, a fan favorite who won her first IndyCar race last year in Japan. "It's funny how these things get going. But I'm happy driving in the IndyCar Series, I'm happy in North America."
Contacted by AP last week, Anderson said USF1, which will be unveiled Feb. 24, will have a staff of at least 100, a working budget of $64 million and an aim to put two American drivers on the starting grid.
He said the team is looking at several candidates, including the 26-year-old Patrick.
"She's great. She gets a lot of press," Anderson said. "I don't know if it's something she wants to do. We'd certainly love to test her and go from there."
Asked if she would be interested in at least testing with USF1, Patrick said: "I don't want to lead anyone on, for sure. It's a costly thing to go testing, that's for sure, and there would be a big time commitment to making a seat and doing all that stuff.
"Time is very valuable and I have very little of it, so unless I was really serious about it, I don't think I would go down that road. ... But I am happy where I am. It would take a bit to make that change for me."
Patrick, who has one victory in 64 starts, will begin her fifth season in the IndyCar Series and third with Andretti Green Racing on April 5 at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Last year, she finished sixth in the standings and has improved her points position each season since joining IndyCar in 2005.
"The good news is I'm on a good team," Patrick said. "We're always competitive. It's just that do we have the edge or not. But I'm excited about the changes within the team. I have a new engineer and Mike [Andretti] calling my races now. I'm excited. I think it's going to be fresh and different."
She said having Andretti, a team co-owner and former open-wheel star, in her pits could make the biggest difference.
"I think his experience is going to be good," Patrick said. "Just having Mike be around all the time is going to keep everyone pushing and on their toes. Any time the boss is around, you're always trying to do your very best."
Patrick, who will take part in a preseason IndyCar test next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway, said she is anxious to get back in the cockpit after a busy offseason that included her second appearance in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.
"IndyCar offseasons are fairly lengthy, but I never said that I don't enjoy them," she noted. "I always think it's good to get away for a little bit just to get excited and be ready for the next season."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press