Patrick to get F1 opportunity?

UPDATE 23-year-old female racer Danica Patrick could get behind the wheel of a grand prix car next week. The diminutive American, who qualified and finished an historic fourth at the Indy 500 last month, may – on the Speedway's F1 road course – drive a demonstration run in a BAR.

Patrick, who finished 13th at the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, reportedly told the press she would attend a Californian movie premiere on Sunday, but otherwise is available. The news will no doubt please F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who is keen to promote his sport in America, perhaps with a street race in Las Vegas.

''We're gradually getting to grips on it,'' the 74-year-old said. ''But until we get the championship on regular television, there's not much we can do.'' GMMF1net

06/11/05 Danica Patrick is expected to be present at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday next week as the Formula 1 teams get ready for the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis. The star of the Indianapolis 500 and the darling of the American media at the moment, Danica may conceivably get herself into a BAR-Honda Formula 1 car for a demonstration run but the details of that are still under discussion although the team is understood to be very keen on the idea. Patrick and Jenson Button raced together in Formula Ford in Britain some years ago and are old friends.

Patrick will not be around for the race itself because she has to fly to Los Angeles for the world premiere of Herbie: Fully Loaded, a Walt Disney picture. Disney is sponsoring Patrick this weekend in the IRL race in Texas with a Herbie logo on her Rahal Letterman Racing Panoz-Honda. The deal extends to the next race as well, which will be held at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia.

"We are thrilled to partner with the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick and her Rahal Letterman Racing Team," said Oren Aviv, President of Buena Vista Pictures Marketing. "In the crowded summer marketplace, we are always looking for opportunities to set our films apart from the rest. Just as Patrick has recently taken the racing world by storm, we know our own Herbie will be turning heads when he races into theatres on June 22."

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