Eddie Gossage is the man in charge of the Texas Motor Speedway and it seems that he is annoyed because the Formula One group and the FIA has decided to put the United States Grand Prix on the same weekend as the NASCAR big rigs will be at his venue in Fort Worth for the AAA Texas 500. The two venues are 210 miles apart, so the logic is that fans will have to choose between them. This, of course, assumes that the two series have the same demographic, which is at best arguable. Texas has held its race in the same week since 2005 and Gossage assumes that this gives Texas some kind of right to the date. Life is not like that.
It is true that international race scheduling is not integrated and that the logic of having two of the biggest races of the year on the day (Monaco/Indianapolis) is basically flawed, but if neither event feels the need to move, what can one do?
Gossage says that the scheduling is “arrogant” and “foolish” and claims that the clash is Formula One taking pot shots at NASCAR. This is more than a tad paranoid, in my opinion. The Formula One group knows that NASCAR is a mighty force in this part of the world, but clearly believes that the audience is different. Last year F1 was in Austin, up against a major college football game and everyone did fine.
What Gossage also forgets is that scheduling F1 is not easy because they are far more factors involved than scheduling in the homogenous world of NASCAR, where dates can easily change. F1 has to take into account complex factors that NASCAR does not even need to consider. Global sporting events, holidays, climatic differences from region to region and the logistical logic that F1 uses to get the circus from A to B every 10 days.
“There’s 52 weeks in the year,” he said. True. But that is a double-edged sword because the assumption is that Formula One should move, rather than NASCAR. Arrogant? Yes perhaps. My view is that if Gossage is worried about his numbers, he should move his race.
The bottom line is that the two series have different business models. NASCAR needs bums on seats, F1 would like them, but can live without spectators…