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Eddie Gossage, the president of the Texas Motor Speedway, had strong words for Formula 1’s decision to race in Austin this November on the same weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s AAA Texas 500 in Fort Worth a couple hundred miles away.

It seems Gossage feels the decision was “foolish” and wasn’t too keen on F1’s scheduling. NASCAR over 30 races during its season but the majority of them are in the US. Formula 1 is a little different.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has offered some insight as to why Gossage may not understand the details involved, as he is not a global sport:

“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,” Ecclestone told Press Association Sport via ESPN. “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.”

It’s also interesting that Gossage would feel threatened by the F1 event because NASCAR fans tend to describe F1 as a series they are not too interested in. Ecclestone does point out that the fan base is generally quite different and that F1 isn’t worried about the NASCAR race taking away from F1 attendance in Austin.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • nofahz

    I think its more about being a friendly neighbor and avoiding the ire of Gossage (and probably the rest of the fellow Texas sporting mogul scene) and the France family as well. Definitely something Bernie doesn’t worry about in any country once his check clears.

  • Tom Firth

    TMS appears to complain about everything to do with COTA.

    Indycar was looking at it and apparently TMS complained and then we had the larger state funding COTA gets over TMS. The list goes on and on about the problems Eddie has with COTA taking potential business away.

    I don’t see how the crossover would be that large either between NASCAR and F1 fans, it will be a few but I can’t see it being huge so I think Bernie is right in that respect. I think you could perhaps slightly argue it between the Indycar race and the F1 race but not Stock cars.

    Eddie Gossage would go mad in the UK, We haven’t got 200 + miles of land between the majority of our circuits and they often have competing series on the same weekend. Donington Park and Silverstone are only 64 miles apart down the M1 and that’s our two biggest racetracks.

  • Tom Firth

    For instance, April bank holiday weekend so It’s Saturday, Sunday, Monday.
    We have WEC at Silverstone, BTCC at Donington Park, British GT at Oulton Park and British Superbikes at Brands Hatch. All of which generally draw impressive crowds plus a historic car racing event at Thruxton.

    • MIE

      The only weekend where there aren’t races on at several UK circuits is the Silverstone Grand Prix weekend, and that is only because other circuits wouldn’t get sufficient volunteer Marshals.
      Does COTA and TMS draw from the same pool of volunteers for their Marshals?

      • Tom Firth

        I would imagine and Todd can clarify this that a percentage of the flag workers and corner workers will come from the state SCCA group.

        supported by TMS safety crew for the NASCAR race and people brought in from NASCAR ?

      • I don’t know definitively where the volunteers come from for each race, whether SCCA etc, but if it was a major issue, I’d think Eddie would have mentioned that in his screed.

        • Tom Firth

          Good point , he would of done so. However on a side note perhaps I know ALMS used to have its own rapid response safety team that attended all the events throughout the season for medical attention, extraction and support in the event of a major incident in the same way that F1, Indycar and NHRA have its own safety teams.

          However I also recall when it swapped from ALMS to IMSA this year. Was some possibility of that being disbanded in favor of track specific local EMT safety teams,which is generally the method NASCAR uses. I don’t know if that team was or not but It was a serious topic of discussion leading up to the start of this season.

  • Here is more commentary from Eddie “the rage” Gossage from my good friend Diamond Dave Doolittle:

    http://www.statesman.com/weblogs/formula-austin/2014/feb/25/texas-motor-speedway-president-still-calls-formula/

  • charlie w

    Eddie Gossage, motor racing’s answer to Mark Cuban, the loudmouth, whiney owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

  • jeff

    Nascar relies upon fans in the seats, so I guess one might understand why Gossage is concerned. The Godfather has a point, though; F1’s schedule is much harder to change with the logistics involved. It doesn’t hurt that Bernie cares little about venue-attendance; scheduling against a UT game in Austin was much more precarious, I think, and attendance was fine.

    • Agreed, Jeff. Iw as going to mention the UT game but felt like I might clutter the post but I’m glad you mentioned it. I think that was a potential threat to attendance but it seemed fine. Maybe NASCAR is worried about people checking out F1, after all, they’ve adopted their quali format. :)

      • jeff

        I think you’re right, Todd, NASCAR is worried about F1 infringing on their audience.

        There’s a general consensus that US race fans watch all motorsport, or (more likely) all motorsport’s the same. I blame that on shoddy network coverage (programming and statistical analysis wonks,not the presenters).

        In reality, there isn’t much crossover, at least NASCAR-F1. However, I have to assume for the new fan or person flipping channels, seeing 2 series competing simultaneously will spark the question of what the differences are. He/she, if still interested, might investigate further, watching both, then make a determination on which format appeals.

        While that casual/new fan is unlikely to spend coin on either race, he/she might in the future. I think that’s what NASCAR’s concerned about, as they’re bleeding viewership and attendance.

        Imagine that, someone actually admiring/emulating F1 rules; here come anteater noses on a Ford Fusion…

  • Rapierman

    Once again, I have to apologize for Texas “rednecks”. I wish I didn’t have to, but, yanno, you can’t choose your family members. Is it any wonder why I feel so damned ashamed of my state sometimes?

    • jeff

      Hey, the better half’s from Austin, and that’s a heckuva town! She’s now a proud San Francisco transplant, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m happy returning to TX for the music BBQ, and Tex Mex. Not to mention reasonable real estate prices…

  • Rik

    I really don’t understand Bernie’s comments. It seems he answered or brought up an issue that was not asked. Logistic’s were not the issue rather dates conflicting was.

    There are X amount of teams in F1 and there are X+ amount of teams in NASCAR. Each has to come and go to venues regardless of the distance so that really is a mute point as to why schedule dates that conflict. Private flights are more flexible than commercial and the last flight I was on in France didn’t carry F1 cars so I don’t think they are traveling via Air France for example. When the F1 teams are in the the continental Europe I highly doubt they fly the cars between UK, Belgium, Germany and Italy. Even the Lorry’s are ocean freighted to Bahrain…

    I could really care less the dates or the conflicts that might exist, but as someone else pointed out; Bernie doesn’t care about asses in the seats, rather his check clearing. I wish I could have his job…

    • Niyoko

      I was thinking the same thing, why did he answer the question talking about logistics? It took me a couple re-reads to grasp his point, or what I think he was trying to say be answering with a glimpse of F1’s logistics.

      Bernie is basically saying how nice it must be that little Eddie is has to just worry about Texas, when Bernie and F1 have to deal with “big boy” and “real men” issues like managing a worldwide transports schedule that includes no less than 6 jumbo jets. Come back and complain when you have something important to say.

      That’s what I finally arrived at with Bernie comment.

      • Rik

        Yea, they might have 6 planes that are used sporadically during the season for certain items but Bernie doesn’t have to worry about any tracks in any countries as neither he nor the FIA own any of the race venues.

        Also, Bernie doesn’t have a team so he has only to worry about his travel arrangements as he does not handle the logistics for the teams himself. So it keeps getting thinner and thinner… Nascar could always say “Hey, we raced in Japan!” so everyone can travel and not defending Nascar, but the distance between states race venues can be and often is farther than the between country races in Europe by a multiple factor. Thinner and thinner..