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Video: First F1 onboard lap of new Korea circuit
Video: First F1 onboard lap of new Korea circuit
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Sep 2010   |  7:35 pm GMT  |  121 comments

This is the first view of onboard camera footage from Karun Chandhok’s run on the new Korean Grand Prix circuit in a Red Bull Racing F1 car.

There is an out-lap, a hot-lap and an in-lap to watch. The 3.49 mile circuit track has 18 corners and engineers tell me that it will be quite a long lap, something like 1m 40 seconds, similar to Spa.

The circuit features a straight over 1.2 kilometres long, which dominates the first sector of the lap and some interesting corners thereafter. There are quite a few walls lining the track, particularly in the last sequence of corners, so there could well be some incidents there.

Track map: FIA

“It’s a really interesting layout, ” said Chandhok after the demonstration run. “The track has a good mix of corners. From turn seven onwards there’s a fast section of flowing corners all the way back to the start finish line, so the Red Bull guys will be happy in sectors 2 and 3.”

There has been a lot of talk in the last weeks about the readiness of this new Korean circuit, which is due to host its first Grand Prix next month. Judging from this video, shot seven weeks before the race weekend, there is still a lot of work to do, including laying a top layer of tarmac and finishing kerbs. It will be quite a race against time to get it ready to host the F1 circus and they are certainly cutting it fine compared to other new venues.

It looks like the track will be ready, but Bernie Ecclestone joked that the teams may well need to put up some tents if some of the buildings aren’t ready. You can judge for yourself the degree to which he was joking.

The organisers, KAVO, say that they are within their timelines to get the place finished and that ticket sales are strong. There were 4,000 people there on Saturday to see the F1 demonstration. The run was organised by Red Bull’s Korean sponsor LG Electronics.

Here is an updated video with track guide, computer animations and the Chandhok lap.

The FIA’s Race Director Charlie Whiting is due to inspect the facilities after Singapore GP later this month, to give the all clear for the race to go ahead.

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Sector 1 is typical “overtaking-opportunity” Straight-hairpin-straight type, although the remaining sectors actually look nice!


One one for this track: ‘Yuck’

this is the kinda track where one can sink into his pillow and watch the race. Trust me… organisers should be fined for spectacle defemation.


James, with the new 20 race calendar just released, do you think F1 is at risk of splitting the same amount of money between more tracks? With many tracks seemingly struggling to balance their budgets, even a small hit could push them over.


C’mon James. Massa did not let Kimi through in Brazil in 2007. Kimi passed Massa thanks to the pitstops.

If Kimi wouldn’t have passed Massa, then the Brazilian would probably have yieled the position. But on that day, Kimi got passed thanks to the pitstops ( as it happened many many other times in F1, as overtakings on track wasn’t always happening)

During the Kimi-Massa years at Ferrari, there were hardly to none teamorders as the drivers were treated equally. And as a Kimi fan myself, it sometimes frustrated me in 2007.


Yes and we all believe in the tooth fairy and Father Christmas


I don’t know whether the first corner is one double apex or two tight ones close together…either way it’s a recipe for a pile up at the start. I do like the long straight that follows, though.

Having lived and worked in Korea for ten years (way back in the 20th century) I second Tom’s comment…the Koreans can get the job done. The biggest concern must be how the track will hold up. All of the layers need time to settle and “cure”…is there enough time for that?


It’s these modern tracks which make me watch ‘Grand Prix’ again and again. *sigh*

Tom Haythornthwaite

I can’t judge the track for race quality but but I recently spent some time in Korea and I am certain of two things:

The track will be perfectly ready and all the teams and every fan that travels to Korea to watch will be very impressed by Korean hospitality and friendliness.


Chung Yung-Cho, chief of the Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO) has been quoted as saying on the 5/09/10 “We have done more than 90 percent of work on the track, the F1 championship here will be successful. You will see a historic moment 50 days from now.”.

Having done some research this afternoon (off work this week) it seems the track is being constructed on reclaimed land beside an artificial lake near KAVO.

Some facts about the South Jorean circuit.

Chandhok completed 15 full laps in his Red Bull.(hmmm)

The circuit will accommodate 120,000 spectators.

The main stand will allow 16,000 spectators.

5,000 hotel rooms near the circuit have been designated for the circuit.

600 shuttle buses will be on hand to transport visitors to the circuit.


Goodness gracious for crying out loud. Don’t think the venue will be ready, I mean really ready. C’mon, this is F1 not a walkathon. LOL.

I hope I’m very wrong.


hey james, how about commenting on the recently revealed new layout for the austin track?


I’m finding out more about it


Personally I can’t see this being ready in time for a safe race to happen. If the FIA gives the green light. They are going to have one hell of a long punch list. I don’t want to start rumours, but I thought that I heard earlier in the season that if Korea doesn’t happen Bernie has a back-up track. Possibly a return to France, A1 ring isn’t a go it’s under construction. Also one grandstand, looks like there will be less fans then the other useless tracks F1 goes to to fills Bernie pockets.


I was going to attend this event but i think looking at the facilities’ I will give it a miss till next year. Thanks James you probably saved me a load of grief.


Was I the only one starring longingly at the hills in the background? With the exception of an unsighted crest the track lacks interesting topography, and could really have done with being a mile or two into the bumpy stuff. That said the layout looks ok, a few nice corners and we will struggle to judge until the race. Austin looks far more promising however.


As the championship is approaching the end. which car do you think will suit this track better James?

Red Bull or McLaren?


Sector 1 McLaren, Sectors 2 and 3 Red Bull


James, do you think Red Bull will have to cut down on their downforce so as to not lose too much to drag on the very long straights?


What I think you’ve got to remember about this is that because the circuit’s not completed yet, there aren’t full walls and barriers and he’s on wet tyres, he can’t have been pushing that hard (in fact I doubt whether he was allowed to really hammer it) so at least we can take a little comfort that the F1 cars won’t be quite as slow through the track. But I have to agree I’m really not a fan of the layout and I personally can’t see it being ready in time. I actually think they have made an effort with the layout with regards to overtaking – lots of long straights followed by tight corners followed by long straights, while formulaic might just work and avoid the problem you get at that chicane at the end of Abu Dhabi’s second big straight. But particularly after we get a brilliant race at such a classic, beautiful circuit like Spa, this dull layout leaves quite a bit to be desired, which is a shame because while I’m not a fan of new tracks replacing old, F1 still needs great tracks and I won’t ‘hate’ a new track just because it’s new. All I care about is that it’s a good circuit so I really hope to be proved wrong.



That engine souns SWEEEET! thats not a Renault in the back right?

Not too sure about the circuit though. Sureley it can’t be completed in time…WAY TOO MUCH work needed…


Yeah…any word on what was powering that car? Surely not a 2010 spec engine…?


Great footage, but an F1 car tip-toeing round on what look like BF Goodrich mud-pluggers tells its own story about how far from a finish it is. Unfinished barriers, unfinished kerbs, unfinished run-off, unfinished pits…Charlie’s going to be leaving them a long snagging list!


Just a thought, I’m sure that the track will be ready, but if it isn’t, and it fails the inspection, do we just lose a race from the calender or will it be replaced with a race at another track or postponed? If there is one race less it would be a blow to the drivers further back in the championship.


The event would be cancelled and we would lose the race which means potentially the championship could be descided by the cancellation of the event rather than on track action.

ie, if leaving Japan one competitor is 51 points ahead of the second placed driver and then Korea pulls out, that would have the effect of deciding the championship.

I think instead, though , they should have back to back races at Interlagos


back to back at interlagos would be badass lol


No mention of how the FIA are breaking there own rules over the track inspection then James ?

“On site inspections will be performed by the Commission’s delegates as necessary, with at least one preliminary inspection and one final inspection. For permanent circuits, the final inspection should be made not later than 60 days (or 90 days for FIA Formula One World Championship events) before the first international event to be held, at which inspection all work relating to the track surface, permanent features and safety installations should be completed to the FIA’s satisfaction.”

Surely the deadline for this was July 22nd ?


Good point.


I think the track organizers got an extension due to weather delays which constituted force majeure on the typical timeline.


Looks… tight. It’s really hard to get an impression of what it’s like from that vid because he’s driving so slowly. I quite like the way the walls line the track – better than acres of run-off.

Actually, sod it, why don’t they just run the race on the surface as it is? We’d be guaranteed a spectacular race…


James, worse case scenario what happens if after Charlie’s visit later this month he decides the track is not ready or up to required FIA standards, will we have no F1 race that weekend or could the event be held elsewhere. Is there any contingency plan for such an event?


There were some soundings out, apparently of other circuits last month. I think the feeling is that in the key areas the track will be ready. This F1 demo run was a bit of hurry up for the organisers, I imagine!



Is the 2010 Driver’s Championship a 19 race event though. Surely certain drivers could feel aggrieved if they lost their chance at the championship as a result of 25 less points being available for them to challenge?

Where else was sounded out? As I cannot remember but is Japan first or Korea? Presumably Fuji is the obvious one. The chance to promote a race at such short notice would be incredibly hard!


I reckon that they will get it done, has any one seen F1 racing? Not long ago they didnt have tarmac on it, so they have done a lot in a short time. These countries throw things up in a ridiculous time we cant even imagine.

The start is going to be great, can you imagine the first corner mele and then the long straight and hairpin at the end??? slip streaming and shuffling galore, bring it on


Good track and considering the rainy season stayed for longer than anticipated that’s good going


Well, its better than I thought to be fair.

The back part of the track looks very mickey mouse. This could just be because Karun was not going very fast (greasy track, demo tires, unfamiliar car etc) When they go through at full pelt it may be better. Dont like the barriers either, “why” is the word that springs to mind….

FAO all track designers especially you Mr Tilke (A1 Ring doesnt count it was already there) – “BUILD TRACKS ON HILLS” the definition of hill is given below.

“A natural elevation of the earth’s surface, smaller than a mountain”.

Good examples of hills can be found at; Spa, Interlagos, Imola, Suzuka, Laguna Seca, Brands Hatch etc. These “hills” give tracks feature and character making them individual. (If you string every track introduced in the last 10 years together I doubt you would notice much diffrence as you passed from one to the other)

However of course, some tracks don’t have hills (Silverstone, Monza etc.) instead of hills they have things called sweepers. This makes the track interesting and challenging.

If one mixes “hills” and “sweepers” together in the right quantity you will probably get a good race track. Throw in a few engineered overtaking places and everyones a winner. Challenging tracks for the drivers, beautiful scenery and viewing spots for the spectators and some quality overtaking for the viewers at home.

Its not difficult….

A somewhat lengthy rant over, to think I started saying its not too bad aswell….


Tilke does not choose the locations they are chosen by the race track owners and are usually located in areas close to cities or major transport hubs or areas of appeal that are likely to be of interest to Ecclestone, thus improving the chances of being accepted. Areas that make for fantastic race tracks like Spa rarely meet this criteria and thus we end up with the flat landscapes we see today.

Also, Tilke could not build Spa as a new race track – the FIA has exceedingly strict criteria regarding the designs of the tracks, no adverse camper, no sharp inclines, minimum track width of 12 metres, start finish straight must be level, to name just a few. There are very strict rules on run off areas too. The older tracks are exempt from these strict rules (although obviously they do have to meet other rules which is why they do get updated) so the reason you see tracks like you do is mostly down to the confines of the rules and locations with which Tilke is presented with.

I am not saying that Tilke does not deserve some of the blame, however the majority of the complaints that get his name attached to them are out of his control and would be the case whoever designed the circuit.


You make a very good point Ben. I think it is very silly that some tracks have one set of rules and others have a different set.

I dont suppose this will ever change so long as Bernie is on his crusade to bring F1 to every country in the middle / far east.

As for the safety, of course every effort has to be made to make the tracks safe but I think it has gone too far. The extent of run off areas spoils the spectacle and makes life too easy for the drivers.

Motor racing is inherently dangerous but I think the cars are now about as safe as they possibly can be, if they were made stronger the human body would not be able to stand it. Any cause of death or serious injury is probably going to come from a freak incident like poor Henry Surtees or Massa. The tracks do not need to be butchered in the name of safety.

Of course you have to draw a line somehwere but I think that line needs moving for the sake of the spectacle.


Darren and Ben, SMACK ON with your comments.

Serious ballsy fun seems to be dissipating in F1.


Can anyone see Charlie Whiting signing that place off as safe to race F1 cars on?

Prediction – the Korean GP will not take place this year.

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