Women in F1: ‘It’s too late for me,’ says Danica Patrick

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Danica Patrick plans to stay in NASCAR

American is arguably the most famous woman in motorsport

CNN  — 

Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone might have once been keen for U.S. motorsport star Danica Patrick to join the top tier of motorsport, but don’t expect her to make that switch anytime soon.

Patrick, who continues to put the pedal to the metal on NASCAR’s ovals for Stewart-Haas Racing, told CNN she has no plans to change careers.

“I’m getting too old to change careers again and again, and I don’t really have a desire to do anything different than what I’m doing right now,” said Patrick, who was speaking in a special “Women in F1” edition of CNN’s The Circuit.

“I’m around my friends and family, and I’m racing internationally – and F1 I don’t think would really provide that.

“I lived in England for a few years and F1 was all I thought about doing, but to be honest when I came back home to the States I thought this is where I want to be.

“You can never say never about anything – but at this point in time, I’m happy where I’m at.”

The 33-year-old has had to ignore her fair share of critics in her record-breaking racing career in the U.S.

Patrick proved her talents by becoming the first woman to win an IndyCar race in 2008 and the first to grab pole position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series at the Daytona 500 two seasons ago.

But seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty said during a live Q&A session as recently as 2014 that Patrick would only win a NASCAR race “if everybody else stayed home.”

He added: “If she had of been a male, no-one would ever have known she’d shown up at a racetrack. This is a female deal.”

A household name in the U.S., who is as well known for her TV appearances and modeling assignments as for her hard and fast driving on track, Patrick hasn’t had an easy time of it navigating a route to the top of her profession.

“You have to be confident in what you’re doing. You have to be sure of it, you have to be assertive and all those things help develop a thick skin,” the American said.

“The higher you climb, the more people you’re exposed to and the more judgment you get. I have developed that over time and it’s a protection layer.

“A lot of people say really mean things and I can’t say nothing fazes me whatsoever but, more than anything, I feel sorry for them, that they attack in such a negative way on someone that they don’t know at all.”

Patrick began karting at the age of 10 – her younger sister Brooke wanted to give it a go and Patrick didn’t want to miss out on the fun.

After honing her racing skills in Europe, she returned home to ply her trade in IndyCar, where she became th