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Looks like we’re going to Korea..
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Looks like we’re going to Korea..
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Oct 2010   |  7:13 pm GMT  |  48 comments

The last few days have seen a turnaround in the fortunes of the Korean Grand Prix and the expectations are now that the F1 circus will race there in two weeks time.

It is still subject to an inspection this coming week by FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting, but F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone has already indicated that the track will pass this inspection.


“I will be there, the world will be watching and we will have a great race – it is on, end of story,” he told Bob McKenzie – father of BBC presenter Lee – in the Daily Express.

“They had problems but they have done wonders in the last few weeks. I’ve been in touch, I’ve seen photographs and the top layer of the track has been laid. They will pass the inspection…despite all the doom stories, I think people will be pleasantly surprised.”

Representatives from KAVO, the organisers of the race in Korea, were at the Singapore GP two weeks ago and the pressure was really put on them by Ecclestone and the teams. It seems that they have responded, laying the tarmac this week and working flat out to ready the track.

F1 is determined to avoid the embarrassing scenes going on in India around the Commonwealth Games.

I was told by someone who worked on the Abu Dhabi circuit construction project that the Korean circuit is “weeks behind” where Yas Marina was in preparation for its first event. Certainly it has been cut a lot of slack as normally it should have passed its inspection weeks ago.

But no matter, it now seems that the race will go ahead, even if certain things are not completely finished. All the essential parts of the track, safety and race management wise should be done. We will know for sure after Whiting’s visit.

KAVO released some pictures of the grandstands today, the first sign of any real confidence from them that they are ready to host the F1 world. They cut it fine, but it looks like they will make it and we will all be there in two weeks from now for what is likely to be an important race, given how close the championship is.

Meanwhile here’s a chance to remind ourselves of the layout of the track from the two seater lap done by Karun Chandhok in the Red Bull car. It will be interesting to see how much it looks like the animations when we get there..

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48 Comments
  1. guy says:

    Did you get Satriani’s permission to use that tune?

    1. mick says:

      whoever chose it, it’s a bit funny (to me anyway) that “Motorcycle Driver” was used for an F1 clip.

    2. Brian Morrison says:

      Doesn’t matter, just listen to Satch do his thing!

  2. JimmiC says:

    I wonder what would have happened (and what might still) if the Korea race hadn’t/doesn’t go ahead? As you say James, the implications on the championship are immense, but is there a racetrack that can hold an F1 event at a moment’s notice? Would Formula One go to another track or would they just make the calendar one race short?

  3. Boston F1 Fan says:

    - That Turn 4/5/6 section is going to do nothing but stretch out the cars. Track designers are idiots.

    1. Chris says:

      no, just Tilke. Somehow he gets the contract for every circuit…

    2. quetric says:

      There isn’t a single overtaking opportunity in the whole of sectors 2 and 3, and it’s terribly dull to watch on tv also.

      It’s appalling that great tracks are being brushed aside to make room for stupid marketing gimmicks like this. If anything, it’s these new circuits who should be run every other year, not old classics like Spa, as it’s been proposed.

    3. Boston F1 Fan says:

      - I always think about that turn 1/2 section in the China circuit. An already boring track is exacerbated by that section which spreads out the cars. When I saw the map for the revised Bahrain circuit (this season’s opener) I knew immediately that it was devoid of overtaking/close-following opportunities and would result in the same thing. In some instances it makes sense, i.e. those chicanes in Singapore to slow down the cars as they approach the bridge. In others it doesn’t.

  4. Jey says:

    //F1 is determined to avoid the embarrassing scenes going on in India around the Commonwealth Games//

    Care to explain what you are talking about here?

    The Games are into their 7th day now and not a murmur has been heard from the athletes ever since they started coming in.

    Yes,there were some issues during the buildup to the games and the non stop rains at Delhi did cause a lot of concern.But all that matters is the D-day and when it arrived,Delhi was up there.

    1. Mark Robinson says:

      Didn’t you hear what happened the swimmers? : /

      1. Jey says:

        Didn’t you hear what the Australian team’s chief doctor Peter Harcourt said or what the Games Federation chief Mike Fennell had to say.

        They ruled out the CWG swimming pool being the cause for the stomach bug that affected the swimmers

      2. Mark Robinson says:

        Ahhhh I didn’t actually, cheers for the update though.

    2. Craigy J says:

      I have not followed the games closely but you cant say that they have been the most successful and smooth though.

      Bridge collapses, weight lifting arena roof collapses, athletes village filled with dirt and excrement, running track having to be resurfaced the day before runners were on it.

      Yes the games are now getting along fine but I think the point James was getting at was that these things taint the reputation and spectacle of events. Wether there were mitigating circumstances (flooding) or not.

      Korea may be the best race on the calendar but it will still be tainted by the disaray and poor standards prior to the event.

  5. Martin says:

    Does anyone remember Dallas in the 80′s? The normal track rules for the preparation of the track were waived then too and the race was a disaster since the track fell apart.

    Looks like we might be waived again because the championship is so tight; wonder what the result will be this time???

  6. Kam says:

    Why must f1 keep going to these dead end mundane circuits?

    Still playing Spa, Monza, Monaco, Japan and Silverstone on my F1 2010 computer game…

    1. Bec says:

      Spa has the 2nd lowest TV rating of all the GPs over the last 3 years, with Japan only 2 places above, and Italy 1 place higher.

      Even Bahrain is equal with Monaco.

      1. Ambient Sheep says:

        Could that be because it’s usually held on the August Bank Holiday weekend, when many people are out and about and/or visiting families?

      2. Bec says:

        Could be, but I’d still watch it ;)

  7. mtb says:

    This news is going to upset quite a few people!

  8. Geoff says:

    Was it the camera angle, or were there a lot of really off-camber corners?

  9. James H. says:

    James, Realistically, can Charlie Whiting go against the wishes of Bernie Ecclestone?

    1. James Allen says:

      Sure. His job is to make sure the track is safe on behalf of the FIA.

  10. Jonathan says:

    James,

    There’s not really any doubt that the organizers have been rushing to get the track ready. Do you think safety might have been compromised?

    1. James Allen says:

      Absolutely not. There may not be much infrastructure, but they won’t compromise on safety. All the fencing etc will have been in for ages, long before the track surface is laid

      1. quetric says:

        What sort of tests are required for the track surface?

        From what i understand, it takes tarmac a few months to reach optimum strength, after it has been laid. This was also a concern when they built the Indanapolis F1 circuit, but they laid the surface a good 3 months before the GP, not 2 weeks.

        Considering the high mechanical grip an F1 car generates, it’s not unreasonable to think the surface might grain. Cars sliding around aren’t very safe.

  11. ronmon says:

    Another crummy track in another backwater country. Bring them on while you eliminate the historical tracks in the countries that made F1. Good luck Bernie.

    1. Elliot says:

      Pretty offensive comment… Korea is “backwater”??? Have you ever been to Seoul?

      1. jeremy says:

        The circuit isn’t remotely close to Seoul.

    2. SPIDERman says:

      AM not korean but am very sure that korea is not back ward country as this contributer thinks.
      korea has the fastest broadband than the whole of britain will ever have.their standard connection speed per household is already 15 years ahead than the USA.so even britain is nothing

      http://www.koreaninsight.com/2009/09/korean-broadband-speed-is-15-years-ahead-usa/

      look at your own home and chances are that you have a korean product in your living room,kitchen or parkng yard
      the samsungs phones,tv,frdges,the hotpont cookers etc,the lg TvS,the hyundai cars,kia sportage,shipbuilding etc.
      The capital city Seoul has more modern infrastucture than london and manchester combined..with over12 million people
      man what planet do you come from?

  12. john g says:

    well i was hoping that the race would be cancelled as i can see nothing but pain for that week, the area is in the middle of nowhere, hotels are an hours drive away, and the whole area is 5 hours away by coach from seoul. but it was never going to happen, far too much riding on it for failure to have been an option.

    this track is doomed for failure, at least with istanbul and bahrain, it’s pretty easy to get to teh (dull insipid) tracks, but this will turn out to be even worse than shanghai – another bland track notable solely for its architecture, situated in a country that literally cares nothing for F1, and so far removed from civilisation that even if there were fans that wanted to go, it’s very difficult to get to.

    still, it korea is lining bernie’s pockets so here we go.

    as for tilke, it’s like aston martin continually giving out contracts to a designer who keeps making variations of the g-whizz, and some deluded up and coming 3rd world country buying them all up because of the badge!

  13. Mary-Ann Horley says:

    Last year we had the World Kart Champs on a track that had been down for a couple of weeks – guess what, it started breaking up during practice! It was a bit of a fiasco. Can’t see F1 tyres being any gentler on new tarmac

  14. Steve of Cornubia says:

    Hmmm. Based on these slow laps, it seems a bit nadgery and slow, a bit like an enlarged kart track. Corner combinations also might make overtaking tricky, which normally requires that a straight precedes the corner.

    How long before the F1 Championship becomes the All-Asia Championship?

  15. Bec says:

    The track looks no worse than Barcelona’s first race or that of the Hungaroring’s first race, and a lot better than some US races F1′s been to.

  16. GCW says:

    Circuit looks like it will be an interesting one.The World Championship drivers title is getting juicy. Although, if Webber wins one of the next three he will only have to finish 2nd and third to guaruntee himself a championship. Changing topics,the waterway behind the main stretch looks like it can be used for an Olympic rowing and kayak racing venue.Nice planning by the Koreans.

  17. Stephen Stuart says:

    James, will you be at the circuit in Korea? It would be really interesting to see some non- publicity snaps of the off-track facilities and hear you comments in relation to the overall event in comparison with other recent additions to the calendar.

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ll be there and will do some pics. It’s going to be a bit of a voyage into the unknown for all of us. I was in Seoul last Autumn and quite liked it. Korea is a very go-ahead country. Only thing I’m not crazy about is the food!

      1. Trent says:

        The food is awesome!

        Kimchi is not to everyones taste, but if you have a healthy appreciation of spice it can be magic.

        Galbi, bibimbap and samgyeopsal are brilliant.

        Stay away from bosintang…

      2. James Allen says:

        Why, what’s in bosintang? Dare I ask?

      3. DKinc says:

        Dog soup.

      4. Trent says:

        Best not to!!

  18. Mark - Anacortes says:

    James, will you indeed be going to Korea? I’ve heard from other blogs that a lot of journalists couldn’t be bothered to attend this far east jaunt. I take it from your absence during the post race interview (done by Will Buxton instead) that you were among those who were not in Japan.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, I’ll be in Korea, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. I will have done six of the last seven races.

  19. Richard Chirnside says:

    Hi James, good to see you back on TV with One HD here in Oz.

    Really enjoying your reports

  20. Phil Curry says:

    Was that a two seater? I thought he did it in the old Red Bull?

    Interesting video adaptation too – love the way it goes from the slick and glossy opening graphics to Chandhok driving around what can only be described as a building site!

    I’m sure we’ll be there. I too have reservations about whether the track will stay down as its only just been laid – but I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

  21. Neal says:

    Not sure if it’s the most scientific method, but driving this circuit on F1 2010, it seems more fun and open than a lot of the recent new tracks.

    There are a number of fast flowing linked turns akin to the early section in Japan before Degner, as well as a tricky double-left hander that needs careful setup before a slow right.

    I think it’s going to be fun (if there are any facilites for the crowd !)

  22. SPIDERman says:

    i think the mlcaren will perform well here and beat redbull and the ferari for 1 and 2 finish
    those extra long straights are enough to offset any deficit in the slow coners
    besides the mclaren drivers have a higher motivation to pull up than their rivals
    For lewis its now or never,and for button he must win at least to have a chance of retaining that coveted crown he won last year

  23. Firezombie says:

    These new tracks have no soul and do nothing for the sport. The only thing it does is fills that hobbit’s (a.k.a.Bernie Eccelstone) deep pockets.

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