Texas Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith has dismissed F1's chances of creating an event to rival those at his facility, despite promising predictions for the inaugural US Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.
The first race at the all-new Austin venue takes place in two weeks' time but, amid encouraging ticket sales and a rising buzz in the Texas state capital, Smith insists that he has no concerns about F1 impacting on either the NASCAR or IndyCar events at his oval.
"We've checked and about ten people we know are going to it, so I'm not really concerned," a disparaging Smith told ESPN
, "F1 never had done anything in this country. It never has worked. They had one race in Phoenix a few years ago, and there was an ostrich race that drew more people!"
While TMS president Eddie Gossage confirms the story, he is far more reasonable when it comes to comparing the impact that F1 may have on events at the high-banked oval. While F1 has struggled to find a permanent home in the USA - moving from Las Vegas via Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix to Indianapolis before switching to the purpose-built $300m road course at Circuit of the Americas after a five-year break - Gossage is aware that the two Texas venues play to different audiences.
"They are going to have a great crowd down there,'' he noted, "It looks like a beautiful circuit, and we know their ticket sales - they've done very well. Personally, I feel the more racing in Texas the better, but we don't have much crossover.
"It'll be great this year, but the challenge will be to maintain that in year two and year three , which is where F1 has struggled in the past. They had great crowds the few couple of years at Indianapolis, but couldn't sustain it."
CotA organisers claim to have sold every grandstand seat for the 16 November race, putting the estimated crowd at more than 70,000, while the circuit has attracted rave reviews from talents as diverse as Mario Andretti and Jerome d'Ambrosio, who both got to sample the 3.4-mile layout at its launch last month.