Bernie unfazed with NASCAR date clash

Thursday 27-February-2014 05:27

Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at claims that F1 could lose to the "800-pound gorilla" by scheduling this year's race on the same date as a NASCAR event.

This year's grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas will take place on November 2, meaning it will be run on the same day as NASCAR Sprint Cup's Texas 500.

The decision has been criticised by the president of Texas Motor Speedway Eddie Gossage.

"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.

"It's just not smart. 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, believes there is no conflict as Formula One draws from a different fan base to NASCAR.

Speaking to Press Association Sport he said: "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.

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

The 83-year-old added that chopping and changing dates is not an easy task in F1 when one considers what it takes to run the show.

"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."

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