Austin surpasses F1's expectations

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says the United States Grand Prix at Austin proved to be a bigger success than even he anticipated.

The event attracted more than 250,000 spectators over the three days, and drew rave reviews from drivers, team bosses and the media about the possibilities it has opened up in America.

Ecclestone, who exactly one year ago feared that the race would not take place amid concerns about finances and building progress, was overjoyed with what he had seen.

When asked by AUTOSPORT how the event had matched his expectations, Ecclestone said: "Much better... 12 months ago there wasn't even [going to be] a race.

"Everything is good. Everyone is happy. Everyone in Austin seems happy. It is good when you do something and it works."

Ecclestone believes that the fact Austin has shown such enthusiasm for F1 is a good sign for the future.

"It is difficult the second year, to get a big crowd for a new event," he said.

"But here you can see that they are behind this, which is good. The governor said we would get a bigger crowd next year than this year."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner had no doubts that the Austin race had gone down well.

"I think they have done a great job here," he said. "The track is fantastic, the drivers enjoy it.

"We have seen a good race and the enthusiasm from the fans, the public and the town has been tremendous. It looks like F1 has been a big hit in Texas."

When asked how much work the sport needed to do for the future to ensure it gained a foothold in the United States, he said: "We have to make sure that we continue to put on a good show, and you can see the enthusiasm there is for F1.

"It would be great to have another race in the States which is obviously under discussion, but F1 has made itself proud.

"It has put on a great show this weekend and I am sure it will be remembered."