Motor racing-Proposed USF1 team is news to me, says Patrick

LONDON Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:21pm GMT

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LONDON Feb 19 (Reuters) - American racer Danica Patrick said she was flattered to be linked to a proposed new U.S. Formula One team but the project was news to her.

"There weren't any quotes (in the stories) from me, because they haven't spoken to me," the first woman to win an Indy Car race told Canadian newspapers after appearing at an auto show in Toronto on Wednesday.

"It's very flattering. I think that any time you are in the same sentence as Formula One, it's a flattering thing," added the 26-year-old.

"I haven't really expressed a lot of excitement and interest in world travel. We'll see what they have to say, though. Maybe they'll call."

The planned USF1 team, to make its debut in 2010, is due to be unveiled on Speed TV on Feb. 24 at 1300 EST.

Those behind it have also set up a website (www.usf1.com) currently ticking down the hours.

"Proving that American technology, American drivers and the American competitive spirit can compete and win on the F1 global stage has been our mission for several years now," the website declares.

"Judging by the overwhelming response we have received from F1 fans both in the U.S. and worldwide, from within the F1 industry and from the U.S. hi-tech industry, we think that many of you agree with us."

International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley said recently that the plans were to be taken seriously but they depended on new regulations to bring down the costs of competing from next year.

The team, who plan to be based in North Carolina and Spain, have yet to confirm an entry to the championship or any sponsors.

The glamorous Patrick is the most marketable commodity in the U.S. Indy Car series and has appeared in photo spreads and Sports Illustrated's swimsuit section.

Patrick, who spent some of her formative years competing in junior series in Europe, has expressed interest in Formula One in the past but has said any test would have to be a serious one.

Formula One has not had a female driver since Italian Giovanna Amati failed to qualify her Brabham in 1992.

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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