It might have been officially given the green light yesterday (Tuesday) to play host to the inaugural Korean Grand Prix next weekend, but the Korea International Circuit is still not fully ready to welcome the F1 fraternity, it has emerged, as cars and equipment are already en route
After carrying out a final inspection earlier this week – albeit rather later than originally scheduled – FIA safety delegate Charlie Whiting gave the heavily-delayed track the requisite seal of approval from international motorsport's governing body, meaning that after considerable debate and scepticism, the 17th race of the F1 2010 campaign will
go ahead as planned [see separate story – click here
]. Only, not everything is quite prepared to welcome the world's most fast-paced and glamorous sport.
“Landscaping work to the surrounding area and parking lots still remains to be done,” a spokesman for race promoter the Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO) told local newspaper the Korea Herald
, “but we are finalising last-minute touches and can be ready on-schedule.”
Concerns persist, however, about certain safety aspects of the circuit and the only recently-laid final layer of asphalt, with recollections of the 1985 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps that had to be postponed for more than three months due to the disintegration of its new track surface, and the planned A1GP meeting at Jakarta in Indonesia in February of last year that was canned altogether due to an insufficient state of completion.
Meanwhile, Red Bull Racing motorsport advisor Dr. Helmut Marko has expressed his fears that the layout of the 5.62km circuit around 400km to the south-west of the capital Seoul will not do the current world championship leaders any favours.
“One of [the straights] is the longest on the calendar,” the Austrian bemoaned in an interview with German publication Auto Motor und Sport
, alluding to the comparative breathlessness of the Renault V8 engine in the back of the pace-setting, Adrian Newey-designed RB6 in relation to its Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz rivals.