F1 chief dismisses NASCAR objection

Bernie Ecclestone has defended the position of the United States Grand Prix on this year's Formula One calendar after coming under fire from the man due to run a NASCAR event on the same weekend.
  • Bernie Ecclestone
    Last updated: 26 February 2014, 12:02 GMT

    Bernie Ecclestone has defended the position of the United States Grand Prix on this year's Formula One calendar after coming under fire from the man due to run a NASCAR event on the same weekend.

    The race at Austin's Circuit of the Americas (COTA) takes place on November 2, clashing with the NASCAR Sprint Cup's AAA Texas 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth just 220 miles away.

    That has led to Eddie Gossage, the president of Texas Motor Speedway, aiming criticism at F1 supremo Ecclestone and COTA officials.

    "I absolutely think it's foolish. Nobody wins," said Gossage.

    "It's a shot fired by Formula One at NASCAR. I can't say I was surprised because Bernie Ecclestone does a lot of foolish things.

    "The thing he unfortunately doesn't recognise is there is an 800-pound gorilla when it comes to major American motor sports. The 800-pound gorilla is NASCAR."

    Gossage has been left incredulous Ecclestone could not find another weekend to stage the race.

    "It's just not smart," added Gossage. "There are 52 weeks in the year. But that was the only weekend that Formula One could make it work in Austin, Texas? Give me a break.

    "It wouldn't have happened if they (the COTA officials) had the strength and the fortitude to stand up and say no."

    Ecclestone, however, feels Gossage lacks appreciation of not only the logistics of F1, but also the differing markets of the two sports.

    Speaking to Press Association Sport, Ecclestone said: "We've a small problem they (NASCAR) don't have - we have six jumbo jets to move around all our equipment, and we have to find the most sensible way to use them to do that.

    "We have to be efficient, and bear in mind we may also encounter problems at an airport.

    "There are issues that can occur, but he and other people do not realise these things.

    "The race prior to the one in the US is in Russia, in Sochi. We've never been before, and we have to get out of there and into Austin.

    "That is probably a lot easier than trying to get into Brazil, and then we have to get out of there (Sao Paulo) to go to Abu Dhabi.

    "So he is extremely lucky he doesn't have to do what we have to do."

    Ecclestone appreciates there are some fans who would like to attend both events, but believes the vast majority are either F1 or NASCAR followers.

    "I've also spoken to the people that run the race at COTA and their position is that they believe the NASCAR crowd is a different crowd to Formula One, different people, different customers," said the 83-year-old

    "At the end of the day they run a domestic series in America - we run a world championship."

    Last updated: 26 February 2014, 12:02 GMT

    Related stories  

    Tags