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Patrick upset and confused Ecclestone comments

| Thursday, June 23, 2005

INDIANAPOLIS -- Danica Patrick is upset at Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and confused by his comments likening women to "domestic appliances."

Patrick received a telephone call from Ecclestone last week during which he congratulated the Indy Racing League rookie for her performance at the Indianapolis 500, but he also reiterated remarks he had made during an interview at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the U.S. Grand Prix was being held.

Among the comments Ecclestone made in the interview and to Patrick was that "Women should be all dressed in white like all other domestic appliances."

"I just didn't make sense of it," Patrick said during an IRL teleconference this week. "I was surprised, I guess, somebody would say that to me. And the days after, when it actually came out in the press, people were asking me 'What do you think of that?'

"I was like, 'You know what he told me• He said that on the phone.'

Patrick said some of Ecclestone's comments were positive and complimentary, which made the exchange more perplexing.

"I can't believe that he would say it to me over the phone, not to my face, but directly to me," she said. "I was a bit confused. ... So I don't really know what to think about it.

"I don't know if he was talking about someone else or the majority or what, I'm not really sure. Or, maybe that's his real feeling.

"If that's the case, then you know, (it) doesn't really matter because I'm racing in the Indy Racing League."

Last month, Patrick became the first woman to lead a lap at the Indianapolis 500. She finished fourth, the best finish by a female in the 89-year history of the race.

Ecclestone did not immediately return a call to his London office. Patrick was on the road Wednesday, traveling to Richmond, Va., where she will race Saturday night.

Ecclestone has made controversial remarks about women before. He told Autosport racing magazine in 2000 that women could not compete in Formula One, but if one did, "she would have to be a woman who was blowing away the boys. ... What I would really like to see happen is to find the right girl, perhaps a black girl with super looks, preferably Jewish or Muslim, who speaks Spanish."

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