A future South Korean Grand Prix is edging ever-closer to becoming a reality, after it has been revealed that the East Asian country has secured loans for almost half the necessary cost of building and operating a new circuit there.
Formula 1's commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone had hinted that South Korea would be a fixture on the calendar in 2010, but when a draft schedule was leaked to the media over the weekend of the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, it was not on there.
However, the Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO), a part-private venture involving the South Jeolla government, has now confirmed that $159 million in loans has been raised – equivalent to 46 per cent of the required total to bring the plans for a circuit 320km south of the capital of Seoul to fruition. Construction on the track is already understood to have begun, with a forecast completion date of July, 2010.
“With the contract, we have secured enough funds to accelerate preparations for the country's first F1 race,” the AFP
news agency quoted KAVO as having said in a statement.