The 2010 Formula One schedule could be reduced by one round, to 18 races, if reports that the inaugural Korean Grand Prix is to be cancelled prove true.

According to German news magazine Focus, there are serious doubts as to whether the all-new circuit under construction in Yeongam will be ready in time for the race's late October slot, with F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone reportedly flying to the venue - situated some 400km south of Korean capital Seoul - to assess the extent of the problem.

The Hermann Tilke-penned track is alleged to have fallen well behind on its construction schedule, something the designer has no control over as he holds only an advisory capacity on this project., and Ecclestone is now expected to take a final decision on the race's viability in the coming days.

"For the first time, I am concerned that a circuit is not going to be finished on time," Tilke was quoted as saying.

Should the Korean race not take place this season, it is believed that it will remain on schedule to debut in 2011, where it will be joined by fellow newcomer India, which is currently overcoming problems of its own concerning the construction of its F1 venue. Any Korean demise would only add to the sense of frustration in F1 engendered by the collapse of the USF1 project, which left the grid with only twelve teams this season, instead of the planned 13.

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