Ecclestone lauds Americas circuit
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has hailed the Circuit of The Americas as "absolutely fantastic".
The £250million purpose-built track on the outskirts of Austin plays host to the sport's return to America after a five-year absence. As to be expected given the amount of money spent, it looks the part, with the initial views of the drivers also favourable.
Standing in the COTA paddock and surveying the scene, Ecclestone told Press Association Sport: "Everything we've asked for they've done and is unbelievable. They've done a super job, I couldn't ask for anything better. It's absolutely fantastic."
He added: "Everybody seems happy, although I had a complaint about the weather with it not being as hot as they'd hoped, but otherwise everything's good, no complaints."
Whilst the circuit might look good from the outside, the over-riding question is whether it will provide the entertainment the Americans demand. The United States and F1 have always had a rocky relationship, and whilst COTA is a step in the right direction, Ecclestone knows his sport will continue to face an uphill fight to win over America.
"America can probably last without Formula One, and Formula One can probably last without America, but it's good we're here," said the 82-year-old.
As to how the F1 brand can be grown, the only solution for Ecclestone is unrealistic saturation.
"We need to have 10 races like in Europe, same population, same size, but the most we'll ever have is two, maybe three," added Ecclestone. "But this should be a success."
There has been talk this year of a race in Mexico in the near future, with a return to its old stamping ground of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Ecclestone, however, has warned prospective hosts that only a track like COTA is the way forward.
"I told them 'This is what you have to build, and then we're in business'," said Ecclestone. "We're definitely not going back to the old circuit. If they build something like this then it will be super."