F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone Dismisses NASCAR Objection Over U.S. Grand Prix Date Clash
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "has defended the position" of the U.S. Grand Prix on this year's F1 calendar after "coming under fire" from the man due to run a NASCAR event on the same weekend, according to the PA. The race at Austin's Circuit of the Americas will take place on Nov. 2, "clashing with the NASCAR Sprint Cup's AAA Texas 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth only 220 miles away." That has led to Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage criticizing Ecclestone and COTA officials. Gossage: "I absolutely think it's foolish. Nobody wins. 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." Ecclestone, however, "feels Gossage lacks appreciation of not only the logistics of F1, but also the differing markets of the two sports." 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 realize these things" (PA, 2/26). The AP reported Gossage added, "The thing he [Ecclestone] unfortunately doesn't recognize is there is an 800-pound gorilla when it comes to major American motor sports. The 800-pound gorilla is NASCAR." Gossage thinks a stronger stance by the management at COTA "would have prevented the scheduling issue." Gossage: "It wouldn't have happened if they had the strength and the fortitude to stand up and say no" (AP, 2/25).