Posted on October 2, 2013
XPB.cc

The Korean Grand Prix is working to establish itself in the F1 calendar and win a place in the hearts of the participants, but it is an uphill struggle. However the circuit does tend to provide quite a good race and there are important decisions to be made on car set up and strategy which can affect the outcome. This year with a big step between tyre compounds, it should make the race more interesting, as Singapore was.

With Sebastian Vettel 60 points clear of Fernando Alonso in the championship and with a car which is now fully optimised, the Ferrari driver is going to need some luck to close the gap down. He is a former winner at this event and he knows he needs to take risks now.

The circuit came onto the calendar in 2010 and it is a mix of different concepts, with a long straight and some high-speed corners early on in the lap, and then a series of tight blind bends at the end, around which the organizers hope to build a Monaco-like cityscape with a harbour. The slow sections contribute to making this one of the slowest average speed laps of any permanent circuit.

This makes it quite a tough track to set the car up for, with a debate over whether straight line speed should be prioritized or higher downforce for the lower speed corners.

This has a bearing on race strategy, as a car which qualifies with high downforce cannot afford to qualify poorly, as it will find it very hard to overtake in the race.

Last year we saw that it was quite hard for teams starting outside the top ten positions on the grid to come through and get a result, bucking the trend of other races. Toro Rosso was the only exception, with Vergne and Ricciardo both coming through the field, thanks to a lower downforce setting to finish 8th and 9th. It was one of the strongest races of the season last year for Toro Rosso.

The Pirelli tyre choice for this race is different from the last two years with medium and supersoft in place of the soft and supersoft tyres.

One of the notable features of last year’s race at Yeongam was that there were lots of tyre marbles which got lodged in the front wings of cars, affecting downforce levels. F1 cars are sensitive to 1mm of difference in the slot gaps between wing elements so a large lump of rubber lodged in will have a big effect and will adversely affect lap time and tyre life.

The weather has been quite cool in general here over the three years to date; the inaugural race was very much affected by rain, with the Safety Car forced to spend almost half the race distance on track. This year the forecast for race day has a possible threat from a tropical storm, similar to the one which stopped qualifying in Japan in 2002.

Although the track surface is quite abrasive, which can lead to higher tyre wear the cooler conditions help with this generation of Pirelli tyres. So a two stop strategy looks the most likely way.

Track characteristics

Yeongam – 5.615 kilometres. Race distance – 55 laps = 308.630 kilometres. 18 corners in total. Average speed 209 km/h. A new circuit hosting its fourth Grand Prix

Aerodynamic setup – Medium to High downforce. Top speed 316km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 304km/h without.

Full throttle – 55% of the lap time (ave). Total fuel needed for race distance – 148.5 kilos (ave/ high). Fuel consumption – 2.75 kg per lap (ave)

Time spent braking: 20% of lap (low). Number of brake zones – 9. Brake wear- ave/high.

Total time needed for pit stop: 20 seconds

Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried): 0.37 seconds (high)

Form Guide
The Korean Grand Prix is the 14th round of the 2013 FIA F1 World Championship.

Red Bull continue to be the form team at the moment, the car has been the one to beat since the summer break on both low downforce and high downforce circuits. Its superior traction out of slow corners will help in the first and third sectors in Korea.

In terms of driver and team performance at this event, Fernando Alonso won the 2010 edition for Ferrari, while Sebastian Vettel has won for the last two years for Red Bull and after his performance in Singapore he is the hot favourite to win again, moving him closer to his fourth world title.


Weather Forecast

The Yeongam circuit’s position, close to the coast, means that it is susceptible to weather fronts and a tropical storm known as FITOW by the Japanese Typhoon Warning authorities, could be headed for the Yeongam area on Sunday or Monday.

The 2010 race start had to be delayed and then the race was suspended due to heavy rain, while rain also blighted Friday practice in 2011.

Red Bull wheel - Photo: XPB


Likely tyre performance and other considerations

Pirelli tyre choice for Korea: medium (white markings) and super soft (red markings). This combination – with new specification tyres – was seen in Singapore.

Pirelli has changed tactics on tyre choice for this weekend. Normally they bring the soft and supersoft, but this year they’ve put an extra step between compounds, to try to create some more interesting strategies.

The performance differential between these two compounds in Singapore was significant, with up to two seconds per lap in qualifying. It was the favoured race tyre, especially for drivers who had new sets to use.

The supersoft lasted for longer in the race than many teams expected and this is likely to carry through to this race. Traction out of slow corners is at a premium here and this will favour the Red Bull and Mercedes cars.

The front tyres take a hammering at this track and last year’s winner Vettel was told to take it easy in the closing stages of the race due to concerns over wear on the shoulders of his front tyres.


Number and likely timing of pit stops

This race looks like a fairly clear two stopper, as it was last year but there should be more variety in tactics compared to last year where most of the leading runners did a stint on supersofts and then two stints on the soft tyres, with stops on laps 15 and 35. This year we could see two stints on supersofts and the beginning and end, with a longer stint on mediums in the middle or a variety of different approaches.

We could see teams like Lotus and Force India that are more gentle on the tyres once again trying something different. Ferrari have already shown themselves willing to take risks on strategy as their situation in the championship becomes more difficult.

Chance of a Safety Car

There was at least one Safety Car in both the 2010 and 2011 races at Yeongam, but last year did not feature one.

There was a Safety Car due to the heavy rain at the start of the 2010 race and then the race was suspended. In total that race featured 26 laps, or 47% of the race distance, behind the Safety Car!

In 2011 there were four laps spent behind the Safety Car.


Recent start performance

Starts are a critical part of the race and strategy can be badly compromised by a poor start, while good starts can make strategists change their plans in the hope of a good result.

As far as 2013 starts are concerned here is a table with indications of drivers who have gained or lost places at the start. This table is for the season up to and including Singapore GP.

Note- This table is intended as an indicator of trends. Where drivers have had first lap incidents which dropped them to the back of the field, they are not included above, but are detailed in the notes marked * below. This affects other drivers’ gains, but the sample still shows prevailing trends of places won and lost at the start.

Gained:

+20 Van der Garde*****


+19 Perez


+17 Di Resta


+15 Massa



+14 Gutierrez


+12 Maldonado


+11 Alonso


+11 Sutil***


+8 Button


+4 Vettel


+2 Pic

+1 Hulkenberg**


Held position
Chilton

Lost

:
-3 Bottas
-4 Raikkonen

*******
-6 Bianchi******

-8 Hamilton


-10 Rosberg

-12 Grosjean
-13 Ricciardo



-17 Vergne ****


-16 Webber*



*Webber dropped from second to seventh after a clutch problem in Australia
** Hulkenberg did not start in Australia *** Sutil suffered puncture from contact with Massa in Bahrain ****Vergne retired following collision. *****Van der Garde and Maldonado made contact in Monaco. ******Bianchi started from pit lane in Monaco after stalling *******Raikkonen crashed into Perez at the first corner at Monza

Pit Stop League Table

Of course good strategy planning also requires good pit stop execution by the mechanics and there have been some amazing performances; we have seen tyre stops carried out in less than two and a half seconds this year.

The table below shows the fastest single stop by teams in the recent Singapore Grand Prix, from entering the pit lane to leaving it.

1. McLaren 28.032 secs
2. Red Bull 28.787s
3. Mercedes 29.032s
4. Ferrari 29.040s
5. Sauber 29.364s
6. Marussia 29.421s
7. Lotus 29.469s
8. Force India 29.667s
9. Toro Rosso 29.736s
10. Williams 29.966s
11. Caterham 30.141s


The UBS Race Strategy Briefing is written by James Allen with input and data from several of the leading teams’ strategists and from Pirelli

Korean GP: An unloved venue, but a challenging track
130 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Ed Ratcliff
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 10:42 am 

    Whatever the state of the track, I find it very hard to muster enthusiasm for this race, there’s so little atmosphere coming across on TV. Not to mention I dare say the rest of the races this season are likely to be whitewashed by RB..!

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    So I gather you’re not looking forward to Typhoon Vettel landing at Yeongam because it’s a severe category F1 RBR storm?

    [Reply]

    deancassady Reply:

    heheheheh.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Latest weather model apparently spares Yeongam from FITOW.

    http://motorsportstalk.nbcsports.com/2013/10/02/korean-gp-to-be-spared-brunt-of-tropical-storm/

    However, Typhoon Vettel won’t be so kind. :-)

    [Reply]

    Tim Reply:

    I preferred your earlier prediction – Vettel will suffer a DNF. Bernie can’t have too many viewers switching off now, can he :-)

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    I’m just teasing Ed with this Typhoon Vettel thing. I still believe that Vettel will have a mechanical DNF in Korea and Webber will take the win to stretch WDC out. Ratings wise it’s probably one of the lower viewership races so such headline next day will also teach everyone a lesson to never miss watching a GP.

    By taking this Vettel DNF view, I’m setting myself for disappointment early and have in fact already accepted it. If my prediction happens to not materialize, big bonus and happiness.

    The situation was not quite the same, but when the DNF happened for Schumi in Japan 06 it took me 4 days to get over it, and in fact I still have not accepted it. :-) I’ve learned from the experience.

    deancassady Reply:

    Tim/Seebee: you got it right; when Bernie says stuff, like a streak won’t last, I load the probability model to reflect it.
    Still, there are lots of variables at play for this one, and despite the syuperiority of the Vettel-RB package, this is formula one, and as Murray says, “…and usually does”.

    Sebee Reply:

    Hands down, without reservations my favorite Murray commentary is…

    “We thought it was a foregone conclusion, and then it wasn’t a foregone conclusion, but then it was a foregone conclusion again, and what a foregone conclusion it was.”

    I actually came across it in a daily calendar. Tuesday September 2nd, 2003. I kept that page and have it laminated in my office!

    There was another F1 quote in there which I also kept. It was from Friday April 4 2003 in the same allendar. Our host James Allen was part of that one. They call this quote one “On truths, undeniable.”

    James Allen: What effect on the track will the rain have, Johnnie?

    Johnie Herbert: Well, it’ll make it wet.

    :-)

    James Allen Reply:

    I remember that one very clearly!

    Tim Reply:

    Lol. I hadn’t heard either of those ones. My personal favourite is the ‘unless I am very much mistaken and yes I am very much mistaken’ and when he poked Nigel Mansell, on a massive bump he had on his head, during an interview.

    Darkhorse Reply:

    My bookie is offering $81 for a JB win. Bring on typhoon and repeat of Jenson Montreal 2011! Drinks on me Sunday night lol

    [Reply]

    George Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: K
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 10:51 am 

    I don’t know why people moan about this track. The races are better than many other circuits and playing it myself on the F1 game, it is challenging and fun to drive.

    I think it has to do with how it looks on screen, like an unfinished construction project. Or maybe it has to do with a certain German guy most times dominating the Asian/Arabian tracks after Monza…

    “Boo to the guy who does the best job”.

    [Reply]

    Grant H Reply:

    I think it should be called bore-rea the track layout is dull and does not seem to be joined up, they have tried to put a long straight a street circuit and some high speed corners without any real flow, in addition it looks empty and grey, the sooner its off the calender the better, i was glad valencia was dropped now get rid of this one and it will be all good (pending Bore-rain becoming a good night race).

    Lets face it vet will win korea

    [Reply]

    Mocho_Pikuain Reply:

    Booing is for the job he doesn’t need to do, not for the one he does.

    [Reply]

    K Reply:

    Sounds like sour grapes to me.

    [Reply]

    bearforce Reply:

    Agreed, I am just happy there is an F1 race on.

    What I don’t get is that this is a new track. Everyone seems to agree what is wrong with the last generation of tracks being built, so why keep building the same unloved and disliked circuits. The whole straight hairpin thing amongst others could easily be excluded from new tracks.

    Can’t they just slap together at least one new track that is heaps cool with a collection of the best bits from other circuits. Like those snake curves at Suzuka, maybe an over underpass, oh and some elevation. Or they could just do a sneaky copy Mario Kart or a Sonic the Hedge Hog track, easy peasy.

    [Reply]

    Juzh Reply:

    They got it right at austin texas.

    [Reply]

    Equin0x Reply:

    You reckon?I prefer Korea to Austin driving in the F1 2012 game anyway so I don’t know maybe Tilke has run out of ideas and someone else needs to be brought in, his tracks have all been bore fests even in Moto GP and other series.

    Yak Reply:

    The thing is, the bits that people like, i.e. twisty bits, high speed corners, etc., aren’t necessarily good for overtaking. What’s good for overtaking is big braking zones. Look at CotA’s twisty bits in early sector 2 (I think it is). Great to watch, but in terms of racing, whoever’s behind is basically stuck there sliding about until a bit later in the lap when they can use DRS and some slipstreaming to at least get alongside the other guy down the straight and have a shot at out-braking him at the end of it. Turn 8 at Turkey… yeah, fantastic to see the cars go through there, but you’re not likely to see many overtakes happening in that spot. It’s just follow the leader. Even Spa, the great classic that everyone loves. Where do we tend to see the most overtaking? Into turn 1, turn 7 (?) at the end of Kemmel, and the chicane at the end of the lap. Sure some overtakes happen elsewhere, but generally speaking, the faster flowing parts of the track that we all love are more a case of follow-the-leader and keep close enough that you have a shot in one of those big braking zones.

    This is why CotA works though. It has a good mix of interesting bits and overtakey bits.

    For all the crap people talk about Tilke and his designs, really, he doesn’t have an easy job. He basically has to design tracks that promote racing and overtaking, for cars that are great at qualifying (i.e. in their own space running in clean air) but rubbish at racing. How does one do that? Essentially, less of the prolonged high speed corner type of thing where F1 cars suck at following, and more of the straight bits, big braking zones and sharp turns.

    All that said… yeah, I find Korea as a circuit a bit boring.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Anil Parmar
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 11:03 am 

    The track has some good ideas but there is zero flow due to the hairpins at the end of the straights and the endless amount of corners in sector 2 and 3.

    Hoping for a good race!

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: TGS
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 11:15 am 

    Just a general question about track design, why aren’t tracks designed with a lot of overtaking opportunities? Or have the new tracks been designed with this in mind?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    The newer ones have been designed that way, eg Austin

    Korea isn’t too bad, especially now with DRS

    [Reply]

    Johnston Reply:

    I think Bernie tried to lure Hyundai into F1 and have them use the Yeongam circuit as their own test track, that’s why the circuit is a bit unusual with it’s very long straight and different sector layouts.

    [Reply]

    deancassady Reply:

    Yeah, it’s about time that monster gets into F1, and/or the tire company.

    [Reply]

    Sujith Reply:

    The Buddh International Circuit in India was built with the input of a lot of teams to create a lot of overtaking. The widening of the race track at Turn 4 was also to promote overtaking.

    And still it does not work. So yeah, do we really need to build tracks that can overtake or built cars that can do them?

    I don’t really understand why F1 fans here don’t enjoy processional races? It is how the sport is. You are gonna have a few processional races for sure no matter what you do. The Sport, the cars are like that.

    I have no doubt, put in some GT cars or LMP cars and MOTOGP and Superbikes on these circuits. We’ll see a lot of Overtaking. But that’s not Formula 1.

    [Reply]

    rad_g Reply:

    Totally agree.

    [Reply]

    Laurie hillier Reply:

    Race circuits have in recent times been designed – whether by Tilke or anyone else – with overtaking as their primary objective. What has happened however, was the FIA mandating very aerodynamically focused rules & regulations for race car design. Thus, no matter what circuit is being used, cars with similar aerodynamic shapes / capabilities end up following each other, with (in many cases) not enough chassis advantage to facilitate overtaking. It comes down, in the end, to brilliance in getting away with designing a chassis around the rules and, in some cases, having a surfeit of sheer driver talent with … ahem, big enough balls.

    [Reply]

    Sujith Reply:

    I agree.

    Formula 1 is the pinnacle of Aero-Sport not Motor-Sport. You don’t have to go back too far in history to see the good old days.


  5.   5. Posted By: goferet
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 11:17 am 

    Aah I see…

    So basically the Korea facility is still a work in progress with the hope of turning it into a Monaco-like Mecca where the people can go to have some fun ultimately leading to the economic development of the surrounding region.

    Yes, this makes good business sense for with water in the harbour people are bound to flock to the area and with F1 as another attraction, I reckon the business men are looking at the bigger picture.

    Am liking Pirelli’s decision to bring tyres with big performance gap, hopefully this won’t lead to a situation were everybody sits out Q3 qualifying in a bid to save precious rubber.

    As for the cursed typhoon, hopefully it can hold back till after the race however, it will fun to see everybody dash for the exit at the end of the festivities.

    Right, am looking forward to a good performance from Lewis seeing as he has provided the majority of the action in Korea the past two seasons.

    P.s.

    Korea made a $26 million loss in 2012.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    I’m hoping the typhoon hits the track so the start is pushed back because the 2AM time slot is terrible for us in EST zone. :-)

    But seriously, what’s the longest they can delay a start to safely run the race?

    Also, what happens if Sunday is a complete wash-out? Could they decide to run it Saturday and re-broadcast in the time-slot? Or would they wait till Monday?
    Has a GP ever been washed out on Sunday? …so many questions.

    [Reply]

    Miha Bevc Reply:

    goferet?

    [Reply]

    goferet Reply:

    @ Sebee

    Whoa, selfish much.

    So you would rather shower everybody with the typhoon just so you can get a perfect time slot for yourself.

    Meditate on your words mate, it seems you and typhoon Vettel have something in common.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    I see the error of my ways goferet. I retract my request. :-)

    Also, note my link above, new weather models show GP being spared the rath of at least one of the two typhoons I mentioned.

    But procedural and statistical questions still stand. Would they move the race to another day, or would they allow a farce 1/2 distance procession behind the safety car, allowing quali order to remain and awarding 1/2 points only?

    Nedder Reply:

    I believe the rules were redefined last year (or maybe the year before) to say that the maximum time an Grand Prix can run is 4 hours (including delays/stoppages) or two hours if no stoppages occur. But this may well be something I’ve just made up. I’m sure James can put me right if I’m wrong…

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    There’s a 4 hr total time limit now, but not sure if they must start the clock at the designated start time, or if they can delay it.

    I want the rain, I want the typhoon. Please, anything to spice the show up some.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Oh, there will be a Typhoon of one sort or another alright!

    You’re going to watch this race live after night out clubbin’? I hate the 2AM EST race time.

    KRB Reply:

    Clubbin’ days are over, sadly. I have early morning hockey instead! Still will watch it live. I enjoy it at that time actually.

    Sebee Reply:

    I don’t know how you can. I’ve been jaded since Japan 2006, when late around that time I woke up the whole house when that damn Ferrari engine blew up!

    I get too vocal to watch this stuff live at night when others sleep. If it’s too exciting wife thinks someone broke in and is vandalizing the place. Calls for me to “check it out”.

    deancassady Reply:

    If one of the big automotive company’s don’t get in, Hyundai or the big tire company, then I think Bernie will probably walk from Korea, no charisma and a overly busy schedule, and common sense.
    As for the weekend, there remain plenty of variables to deliver unexpected results, but of course the most likely victor is the munchkin.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Warren G
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 11:18 am 

    Hard to believe its the fourth race here, but apart from the heavy rain in the first one, I can’t actually remember anything about it. The track itself doesn’t seem to be the challenge, but rather the big difference in characteristics between sectors.

    Any idea how closer this supposed Monaco like harbour is being developed? Otherwise the “street” sector is just so pointless.

    [Reply]

    BW Reply:

    Why, last year we had a lot of funny stuff, such as Vettel’s dying tyre, Hamilton’s grass scarf or Webber almost winning the start…

    [Reply]

    Gene Reply:

    The Webber/Hamilton scrap a couple years ago was amazing as well. Those that think this track isn’t that great likely haven’t driven it in a simulator or video game. It’s a blast to drive, and you’ll consistently hear the current crop of drivers saying the same thing.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: DonSimon
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 11:32 am 

    A friend in Singapore tried to get tickets a couple of days ago and said they were showing sold out for most seats. They must have closed grandstands or something?

    [Reply]

    deancassady Reply:

    allocated to the army?!?

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: goferet
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 11:32 am 

    Some Korea stats:

    1) Vettel 2 wins, Alonso 1 win

    2) Out of 3 races, only once has the pole sitter won

    3) At a dry race, Red Bull has had both cars on the podium plus with the exception of 2011, have qualified 1-2.

    4) Kimi and Jenson have won once at a new track (Abu-Dhabi & Bahrain respectively) however, Kimi, Jenson, Webber & Rosberg have never been the pioneer winners at brand new circuits.

    5) After his pioneer win in 2010, Korea may have become something of a Alonso bogey track for just like Lewis, Jenson and Vettel (in China), it hasn’t been able to win in the dry at a track were a driver got his first win in the wet.

    [Reply]

    Lee Reply:

    My stats as follows:

    2010- asleep by lap 10
    2011- asleep by lap 15
    2012- asleep before the start

    [Reply]

    Simmo Reply:

    Wow! You lasted a while in 2010 considering most of that time was red flag.

    [Reply]

    Equin0x Reply:

    Well I would suggest not bothering waking up or staying up for the race, no point watching Vettel trounce the field yet again, we’re well into he Vettel asian season pointless for Hamilton fans to watch especially as even Rosberg might beat Hamilton, save yourself the pain sleep well :)

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    You are aware that every one of your posts always brings the subject to Hamilton somehow?

    Thou dost protest too much!!

    Tealeaf Reply:

    No doubt Seb will win if everything is normal but Rosberg will have his work cut out beating Hamilton again.

    pargo Reply:

    Maybe, but I appreciate a few other drivers on the grid as well so am glad another race is on this weekend!

    furstyferret Reply:

    Well what a surprise equinox, on a discussion on the Korean gp, he has to bring up his slightly strange obsession on hamilton being beating by rosberg, he could well do, but by the sound of things your a vettal fan, that must have been a really tough choice, im sure you were there from the beginning, and probably supported Schumacher before that, so you obviously do not not jump on a winning bandwagon, just enjoy the race

    Equin0x Reply:

    @ furstyferret
    My obsession with Rosberg beating Hamilton? Not as much of an obsession as these excuses Hamilton fans come out with about Newey’s cars, actually I’m a Jenson Button fan and in the past I supported Damon Hill and before that as a little boy Nigel Mansell, I didn’t like Schumacher but yes I don’t mind Vettel I can respect he is the best driver right now as for Hamilton yes I think he’s overrated the only driver he’s beaten cleanly and clearly as a team mate was Kovalainen. Sorry if I like to state these facts but the illusion the Hamilton fans are under are quite laughable.

    KRB Reply:

    The pole sitter has never won.

    2010 – Vettel DNF’d with engine
    2011 – Hamilton finished 2nd
    2012 – Webber finished 2nd

    [Reply]

    Tealeaf Reply:

    There’s always a first for everything, Hamilton for pole and win… oh and then I woke up and see that damn Vettel in front yet again, at this rate 40 wins is within sights, then 50 and you know the rest.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Many thanks for your brilliant and insightful post! A step up. :-)

    goferet Reply:

    @ KRB

    Oh yeah, thanks for the correction.

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Simon Donald
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 11:44 am 

    Hate to say it but Id be massively surprised if anyone other than Vettel won this race barring mechanical failure or a accident. He was dominant in every race that has been held here and would have won all of them if he hadn’t have had a car let him down in 2010. Much as it is an interesting track in terms of some of the corners, it’s a pretty uninspiring place much like Shanghai. Wouldn’t bf sad to see it go to make way for the A1-Ring or the Nee Jersey race.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Gudien
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 12:06 pm 

    I expect we’ll see another fine race in South Korea……unless of course North Korea declares war over the weekend.

    Meanwhile the soap operas continue at several teams;

    1. We’re running out of opportunities for Vettel to hand his departing teammate, Webber, a win.

    2. Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo has yet another weekend to continue ‘winding up’ his #1 driver Alonso.

    3. McLaren boss Whitmarsh faces more questions concerning his half-hearted desire to retain Perez.

    ….and we haven’t even mentioned Lewis have we?

    [Reply]

    The Spanish Inquisitor Reply:

    I agree 100%. And now I know what is a “soap opera”.
    Many thanks…

    [Reply]

    Tealeaf Reply:

    Well in 2011 Vettel basically handed Webber a win at Brazil with that questionable gearbox issue but there’s plenty of races remaining for a Webber win.

    [Reply]

    HBerg Reply:

    Webber will be gifted a race win after Seb secures his 4th WDC….as per Brazil 2011.

    In that race, after Seb’s apparent gearbox problem where he lost one of his gears, Seb was told to slow down and give the lead to Webber. However Sebastian then spent the remaining part of the race getting fastest laps – sulking “this is what happened to Senna (in 1991)”

    Perhaps I am being too harsh….

    [Reply]

    HBerg Reply:

    Of course this meant that Mark could overtake Fernando on points and come in third, allowing both drivers to attend the F1 gala at the end of the year. This is what Dietrich would have wanted. Or so it seems.

    [Reply]

    Yago Reply:

    For that to happen Webber has to be right behind Vettel…

    [Reply]

    Gene Reply:

    After the race Webber remarked that he saw and felt the fluid coming out of Seb’s car as he came up to pass him. There was nothing “apparant” about the gearbox problem, it was genuine. The win was gifted, but certainly as the result of a mechanical issue.

    [Reply]

    Glennb Reply:

    Barring mechanical issues, Seb would never move over for Mark. Seb makes the decisions as to who ‘deserves’ a win and who doesn’t. I dare say and I would like to think this would be the case, that Mark would be too proud to take the win if nothing was wrong with Seb’s car anyway. To be thrown a bone is humiliating.

    [Reply]

    Tyemz Reply:

    Or Imagine Mark being gifted a win and he goes on and hands it over to his pally, Alonso (Like: Hey Fernando, this is for you, for remembering to give me a ride in Singapore when I needed one). That would be an intriguing piece of drama in a boring season wouldn’t it?

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Elie
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 12:10 pm 

    Can anyone see any reason why this won’t be just a repeat of Singapore?.. Maybe Ferrari and Lotus may be a little stronger here on the super softs but I doubt there will be too many surprises at the very front !

    [Reply]

    tim Reply:

    How about for the simple reason there’s no such thing as a perfect 10? RB is due for a little adversity. And while their performance at Singapore was crushing, they did have their nail-biting moments. They still have a very fragile car.

    If MB can get their act together during qualifying, there might be some fireworks. That being said, if Vettel does have a bad day, he’ll still probably end up on the podium or well within the points.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Webber has a 10-place grid penalty. He’ll likely not be a factor.

    [Reply]

    Glennb Reply:

    I’d keep him out of quali, start him from pitlane with a rocket ship :)

    Rob Newman Reply:

    It won’t be. The weather will play a big part. It is still not certain if there will be a race on Sunday because of the Typhoon.

    I am referring to Typhoon Fitow … not Typhoon Vettel as mentioned by Sebee.

    [Reply]

    Elie Reply:

    Everyone knows its Typhoon RB9 we’re worried about…Kimi made “fluffer Seb” look like an amateur at Hungary before the updates.

    [Reply]

    Rockie Reply:

    The same way DiResta made Alonso look like an amateur at Singapore am guessing overtaking on a street track is not easy as you make it.

    Elie Reply:

    No- what your talking about is Di Resta on fresh rubber and Alonso on old- bit of a difference. Same for Seb on rubber with 1/3 the laps of KR at Hungary..Did you notice that..if it was Monaco you might have half a case.. But then Only Kimi can show you how it’s done there right.. Thanks Rockie, bye for now !!

    Kirk Reply:

    I think the only variable here is that It’s easier to overtake so maybe we won’t see a gap of 30 seconds, maybe “just” 20. But yes I don’t see anything different, it could be good to find an inspired Webber just to see some fun in the front, but he looks as if he wanted to end this year now, like the McLaren guys, I heard an interview when Perez said that fortunately there are just 6 races to end the year.

    [Reply]

    deancassady Reply:

    let’s see what the long wheel-base car can do?
    I think we’ll see another Lotus victory this season.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Doug
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 12:23 pm 

    Great report as usual James.

    I was amazed that McLaren delivered a pit stop time that much quicker than the competition (3/4′s of a second faster than Red Bull)!

    Do you know which driver this was for?

    Also, do you suspect that teams will move towards a higher downforce setup with the prospect of a possible tropical storm than would usualy be the case?

    Regards

    Doug

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    For Perez

    I think they’ll move towards hiding in a bunker, if its anything like the one that narrowly missed Suzuka in 2002!

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Do you think the teams might be wise to invest in some carbon fibre umbrellas? :)

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Quade
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 12:49 pm 

    Lets hope its not another humdrum race. Go Lewis!

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Rob Newman
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 12:59 pm 

    I have a feeling we are going to see the most entertaining race of the season. The weather will spice up the race.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    ‘The weather will spice up the race’

    I hope you’re right, but I have a bad feeling it might end up being more like the first hour or so of inaugural race in 2010.

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Trent
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 1:21 pm 

    Finally getting to this race and there’s a typhoon coming! As there seems to be a tendency nowdays to leave the safety car out for anything heavier than a mild shower now, it doesn’t look promising for an afternoon of good racing.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: RogerD
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 2:02 pm 

    “…tropical storm known as FITOW… ”

    Ferrari Is Tentative On Winning?

    Force India Takes Out Williams?

    Flooding In The Outside Workshop?

    Felipe Inflicts Tribulations On Webber?

    Force Imparts Torque On Wheels?

    [Reply]

    RogerD Reply:

    Forced Induction Technology Obliterates Wastefulness?

    Yep, I’m struggling now…

    [Reply]

    Jock Ulah Reply:

    Fortunately, Its Tendentious Origin Wanes.

    The storm, that is, not Ferrari . . .
    Or maybe Ferrari too . . ?

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Forced invention of terms, oh well…

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Leigh Barratt
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 2:23 pm 

    I’m flying out to Korea tomorrow for the race!!!!

    [Reply]

    Rob Newman Reply:

    Lucky you! Have fun!!

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: Alexander Supertramp
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 3:12 pm 

    Surely Vettel is winning this one ,right :D ?

    We should have a nice battle for P2 with Kimi, Alonso, Lewis, Nico, Webber and perhaps Grosjean. The battle for 2nd in both championships is also still interesting. Bring it on!

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: shri
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 3:19 pm 

    I shall be watching the race from position 2 and onwards, P1 being VET sadly.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Nick
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 3:27 pm 

    I have this hunch, a feeling that Vettel may just win this race!
    And I shall be booing from my armchair if he does!!

    [Reply]

    Miha Bevc Reply:

    Did you miss the tour bus !?

    [Reply]

    Basil Reply:

    “And I shall be booing from my armchair if he does!!”

    You won’t be alone!

    [Reply]

    Jason Reply:

    From what I’ve gathered in this debate about the booing it seems that it’s the conduct of Vettel that annoys people. That he’s not acting like the gentleman that an F1 racer should …as in “Gentlemen, start your engines”. Strange then that the reaction to this is so primal and not at all gentleman-like.

    [Reply]

    Nick Reply:

    I am not sure its about Vettels conduct, for me its more down to the constant relentless winning, which as a long time f1 fan I do find boring, much as I found the Schumacher era hard to endure.
    I have nothing against Vettel other than that, and its up to the competition to beat him and Red Bull to spice things up.

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Joe
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 3:51 pm 

    Hi James, just a correction. The typhoon on the weekend of the Japanese GP was in 2004. Great article as always with your site.

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: Xman
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 5:10 pm 

    Come to the party FIA. Plant an apple in VET fuel tank and lets make this interesting.

    Seriously now, RB has been cutting it fine for a long time. A DNF or two wont harm the WDC.

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: Andrew M
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 5:15 pm 

    “This year with a big step between tyre compounds, it should make the race more interesting, as Singapore was.”

    It was the safety car that made Singapore interesting really, not the tyre compounds.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I don’t agree. It would have been more interesting without the safety car

    [Reply]

    Elie Reply:

    Sebs lead would have been massive (possible reliability issue of RB9). The Mercs would be in the fight with Fernando. Kimi would have finished 6th at best.

    [Reply]

    GWD Reply:

    James, by more interesting, do you mean if Seb could of actually lapped every other car in the race? ;)

    [Reply]

    Rockie Reply:

    Same feeling here James as everyone would have used the optimal strategy instead of try to go long on 1 set of tyres.

    [Reply]

    Andrew M Reply:

    How so? I think without the SC everyone apart from maybe Kimi would have been on essentially the same strategy. The SC mixed things up and gave us Webber and the Mercs coming back through the field to catch Fernando/Kimi/the McLarens.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    The safety car had the potential to make it more interesting by closing up the field to Vettel, but when he took off again at the restart it was pretty much game over right there.

    [Reply]

    Andrew M Reply:

    Well I was talking about the “race for 2nd”, I don’t think anything could have made the race for the win interesting, except maybe if Rosberg had made it stick in turn 2…

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: D Vega
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 5:24 pm 

    More SV domination, more Alonso determination and resignation, more Webber start stagnation, mote Hamilton perturbation. My how this season has lost all exhilaration and lacks anymore anticipation!

    [Reply]

    Rob Newman Reply:

    That is good deliberation!

    [Reply]

    Elie Reply:

    More Felipe capitulation

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: Rob Newman
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 6:47 pm 

    Just wondering, haven’t we still hit the 300,000 mark?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes we have!! Announcement on that shortly..

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    What is this about?

    If Webber was that fat he wouldn’t even get off the start line.

    [Reply]

    Rob Newman Reply:

    This is about the number of comments on JA on F1 website!

    [Reply]

    Glennb Reply:

    Its the number of posts on this site that have the key words:
    “Lewis” & / or “Hamilton” in them I think.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    It’s not so much that he’s fat (no F1 driver is these days).

    It’s more his height that makes him heavier than the average F1 driver and so makes it harder for him to get off the line and so accounts for each and every one of his bad starts.

    I’m amazed no-one ever made that link before :)

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Lee
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 9:07 pm 

    Ooh good knowledge. Kudos to you.

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: Rishi
        Date: October 2nd, 2013 @ 9:13 pm 

    I agree that the circuit is quite underrated and had a nice mix of everything from long straights to (some) fast sweepers via tight slow corners. I also really like the idea of F1 being in Korea with the country’s economic success of many decades now combined with the innovation of its firms. It’s only a disappointment that the attendances appear to be quite low, partly I’d imagine because it’s currently not that close to the big cities and the economic (re)generation plan (of building a city around the circuit) seems to be on hold indefinitely.

    I hope we get a good race on Sunday (indeed a race of any sort would be welcome given the weather forecast). Agreed that Vettel is a favourite, but even if he does his “genius at work” job of immaculate victory hopefully there will be good battles spread across the field behind.

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: Truth or Lies
        Date: October 3rd, 2013 @ 12:28 am 

    James,

    Silly question but what makes the Korea circuit an unloved venue, the food, hotels, local transportation? Just curious!

    Btw, I know lots of contributors, me included, often say thanks for this great site. But you do know that you are completely redefining the way F1 is covered in the specialist media. The quality and relevance of the almost daily new articles is just amazing. Especially for those of us who grew up waiting for Motoring News and Autosport to arrive home every Friday from the newsagents and then fought against brother and dad to read an article or two :)

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Thanks!

    It’s a place no one enjoys, difficult to get there, hardly any crowd, food is a real problem

    The track is good though

    [Reply]

    Johnston Reply:

    Will having the race in or near Seoul solve everything?

    [Reply]

    Tyemz Reply:

    Thanks James. Great site as always.
    A bit off topic though, recently I found out that the longer comments don’t appear in full when I’m using a mobile phone. Problem is, I can’t use a computer all the time so I make up for that by using my phone whenever I could, but with some of the comments not appearing in full, it feels like stopping a GP after the first stint. Sorry to say that as a result of this, I ‘ve not been as faithful to this site as I used to be. Don’t know if there’s anything that can be done about it.
    Thanks.

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: Raymond Yu
        Date: October 3rd, 2013 @ 3:56 am 

    About driver form guide, James – worth noting that without Vettel’s dud engine in 2010, he would have lead every single lap of the Korean Grand Prix.

    [Reply]

    deancassady Reply:

    good one!

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Robin
        Date: October 3rd, 2013 @ 8:26 am 

    This is a fine race for us on the west coast of North America as it’s at 11pm. So it’s one of the races where we can gather at a friend’s house, drive the track and eat canapes and then watch the race with live lap timing which always makes it more interesting. (other races you either get up at 5am and watch the race with the cat, or go to aforementioned friend’s for Sunday breakfast and repeat above without live timing) And it’s been pretty entertaining in its way the last couple of years, though the highlight of 2012 was actually in the “Lewis Hamilton Astroturf Pun-A-Thon” thread on Autosport in which some wag described him as being “All for Lawn”. So I will be getting the canapes together and we shall see.

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: kenneth chapman
        Date: October 3rd, 2013 @ 9:05 am 

    even as a tv spectator, the vision lacks lustre. there is no ‘atmo’ whatsoever and to me that is part and parcel of what F1 actually means in totality. it will never have that special feeling/effect that goes with some of the classic circuits.

    true, it is the racing that accounts for 99% and if it is close and exciting the surrounds mean zip. this however is the exception rather than the rule. all that aside it is an F1 race and that has to be good.

    on another note. james, it has been said so many times before, but once again. great site, informed posters and a healthy lack of personal antagonism which is rather unique. well done.

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: deancassady
        Date: October 3rd, 2013 @ 11:24 pm 

    Let’s enjoy Korea while it’s still here; technically diverse, but utterly lacking flow and charm.

    Of course the blockhead munchkin is the favorite; and clearly emerging as an era-dominating great, regardless of whether or not people like or boo him (or both!)

    I am looking forward to seeing what the new Lotus does, and yet convinced of a Grosjean victory this year; he clearly has the talent, but needs to put is all together, with the team, and keep his cool the entire weekend.
    I haven’t been a great fan of Grosjean, but he’s been through a lot of adversity, and lately not deserving of much blame that has been heaped upon him.

    Key player I’ll be watching, besides the Lotus duo:
    Fernando: of course, seems under the gun; I’m not yet convinced he’ll be in Red next year.
    Hulkenberg: still strutting his stuff for suitors, and (finally) showing race-over-race success (in a 2013 Sauber kind of way).
    Di Resta: Ahh, his luck, bad, has got break, and we could see a podium (finally!)
    Massa: unbounded, go for it: Forsa Filipe!
    Mercedes: for real? sandbagging? Hamilton or Reosberg? Is Rosberg for real?
    Webber: I don’t think Seb feels any need to gift a win to the gritty old Aussie git; so I want to see the gritty old Aussie git, win, totally without any gifts: Go Webbo Go! Balls to the walls, mate! Get feral or go out… back!

    [Reply]

    deancassady Reply:

    Loving the site, James.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Cool. Spread the word!

    [Reply]

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