• US Grand Prix

Ecclestone hits back at NASCAR criticism

ESPN Staff
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The scheduling of this year's US Grand Prix has angered some in America © Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone has defended the position of the United States Grand Prix on this year's Formula One calendar after criticism over the event's timing.

The race at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) takes place on November 2, which clashes with NASCAR Sprint Cup's AAA Texas 500 in Fort Worth 220 miles away. Eddie Gossage, the president of the Texas Motor Speedway, where the NASCAR event is being held, criticised Ecclestone and COTA officials as the potentially damaging clash of dates.

Calling the move and Ecclestone "absolutely foolish", Gossage insisted the F1 event could have been held in any other week, hitting out at COTA officials for not having "the strength and fortitude to stand up and say no" over the scheduled date. But Ecclestone has hit back at Gossage, insisting he does not appreciate the logistics of F1 as it attempts to fit 19 races from around the world into one workable calendar.

"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. "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 also believes both series have a "different crowd" to the other, meaning the clash of dates should not directly impact the attendance levels for either event.

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