Danica Patrick amused by Ecclestone’s comments

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BRISTOL, TENN. (AP) - Danica Patrick seemed mildly amused Friday that the man who once likened her to a “domestic appliance” now appears to be complimentary of her driving skills.

Formula One head honcho Bernie Ecclestone was quoted on the series’ official website this week saying he’d like to lure Patrick away from NASCAR to F1.

“There should be no reason why not, providing that we find a team to take her,” he told the F1 site. “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. 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 U.S. to come here and maybe not make it.”

Alas, Patrick has no interest in switching series.

“I did see Bernie’s comments, they sounded complimentary,” she said at Bristol Motor Speedway. “It looked like he was kind of acknowledging my ability to drive a car. So, that was kind.”

Ecclestone wasn’t so kind in 2005 at the U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis when asked about Patrick becoming the first woman to lead laps in the Indianapolis 500.

“You know I’ve got one of those wonderful ideas … women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances,” he said.

He reportedly later called Patrick to apologize and said the comment was just an analogy.

Patrick said she’s heard from Ecclestone periodically over the years.

Bernie has actually sent a lot of messages,” she said. “Any kind of big high point that happens in my career … He even sent me a big picture signed by him one time. He’s actually been really nice. I don’t necessarily think that his comments a long while back are representative of maybe his opinion of me.”

Still, she’s not interested in F1 at this time.

“Honestly, I’ve always said that unless it would be something that I’d want to do for real, as in race a Formula One car, I don’t see any point in testing it,” said Patrick. “It’s a lot of work to get fitted in the car comfortable enough to be able to go drive it. Then as a driver, for me at least, I run the risk of, `What if it doesn’t go well?’ Then people judge me for that. Unless it was something I was really serious, I wouldn’t do it.”

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