The organisers of the F1 United States Grand Prix at Austin in Texas have attempted to downplay the fact that next year's third running of the event will clash with a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.
The conflict has come about after the date for the event at the Circuit of the Americas was moved from November 9 to November 2, a change confirmed on Wednesday when the World Motor Sport Council ratified the 2014 F1 calendar
“F1 race organisers set race dates and locations according to a global calendar with incredible scheduling and logistical considerations,” COTA chairman Bobby Epstein explained in a statement issued after the change of date was made public.
“We are pleased that our date falls on a weekend that doesn't conflict with any major conventions scheduled for Austin, due to the impact that kind of overlap could have on hotel availability. In early November, Central Texas hotels are wide open, and it's beautiful time of year to visit Austin and experience our immersive F1 weekend.”
“Due to the large number of NASCAR events scheduled annually, there will occasionally be overlaps with events at Circuit of The Americas, and that will happen next year,” he added. “However there are few similarities between a NASCAR race and the F1 weekend we have developed. The F1 USGP is a massive, fun and entertaining experience that has performed well against all kinds of competition. Many members of the public were concerned that our first F1 race fell on the same date as the season-ending NASCAR race in Florida, and it proved to be a non-issue.
“Ultimately, we see this as a great opportunity to draw sports fans from around the world to Texas and to proving again that Austin is the place to enjoy premium racing and entertainment.”
Texas Motor Speedway president and general manager Eddie Gossage meanwhile is not amused - especially given TMS and COTA are only roughly a three-hour drive apart - although he doesn't believe NASCAR will be the loser.
"It's a foolish move by F1," Gossage said in a statement according to usatoday.com
. “Our two NASCAR Sprint Cup races draw the two largest crowds in Texas sports. It isn't the smartest move to try to compete with that.
“I'm sure regardless of what they say publicly, the folks at the Austin track are pulling their hair out over this one.
“They don't have any say over their date.”