“Danica would be good to have in F1” says Ecclestone

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What’s the one addition F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone wants to see in the sport soon? “An American woman driver”.

In his traditional pre-season interview for the official Formula One website, Ecclestone spelled out his desire to see a driver like Danica Patrick competing in Formula One:

“There should be no reason why not, providing that we find a team to take her. Danica would be good to have with one of the teams now.

“All the things that people worry about – whether a woman can cope with the G-forces and all that – she has proven that she can. She’s been there and done it.”

But having admitted that she could make the move, he doubted she would:

“What I think – and I cannot blame her for it – is that she will hardly want to give up the exposure she has in the US to come here and maybe not make it.”

Intriguingly, Ecclestone added he’d had discussions about bringing a female driver into F1 with the billionaire owner of the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams, Dietrich Mateschitz:

“I spoke with Didi Mateschitz some time ago about the issue of an American team and at that time I said that we would want an American woman driver. He seems ready.”

The last women to attempt to start an F1 race was Italian Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify on three attempts for the beleaguered Brabham team in 1992.

Her late compatriot Lella Lombardi is the only woman to have scored in an F1 race, picking up half a point for sixth place in the curtailed 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.

F1 2017 driver review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 7
Best Finish: P2 (Monaco, Hungary)
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 2
Points: 205
Laps Led: 40
Championship Position: 4th

While this may have statistically been Kimi Raikkonen’s best campaign since his first year back in F1 in 2012, there is a good case for it being one of his most disappointing to date.

Raikkonen’s continued role at Ferrari has been questioned on a number of occasions, but the Finn looked capable of answering his critics heading into 2017 after impressing through pre-season testing as he appeared to get to grips well with the new-style cars.

But we soon grew accustomed to the same old story: flashes of potential, but otherwise an underwhelming, unsatisfactory campaign that saw Raikkonen be dwarfed by his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s charge to his first pole position for over eight years in Monaco gave hope of a popular win, only for Ferrari to play its strategy in favor of title contender Vettel – why wouldn’t the team do so? – to leave him a disgruntled second.

While Vettel was able to impress at the majority of circuits, Raikkonen only looked strong at tracks that were unquestionably ‘Ferrari’ tracks, such as Hungary and Brazil. Like Vettel, Raikkonen should have racked up a good haul of points in Singapore, only for the start-line crash to sideline both Ferraris before they even reached Turn 1.

Again there is the question of ‘what could have been?’ in Malaysia had it not been for the spark plug issue on the grid, yet in Japan, Raikkonen was nowhere, finishing behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Finishing just five points clear of Daniel Ricciardo despite having a much faster car for the best part of the season and the Red Bull driver’s own reliability issues sums up the disappointment of Raikkonen’s campaign.

He should have been an ally for Vettel in the title race by nicking points of Lewis Hamilton, much as Valtteri Bottas was doing for his Mercedes teammate. Instead, Raikkonen seemed to be tagging along for the best part of this season.

Season High: Pole in Monaco, his first since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Season Low: Finishing a distant P4 at Spa – a circuit he made his own in the 2000s.