The top flight's drivers and teams seem to be in unanimous agreement with Korean Grand Prix organisers that South Korea's inaugural F1 race was a 'resounding success' – despite the weather's best efforts to derail proceedings.
With race promoters the Korean Auto Valley Operation (KAVO) having revealed that more than 80,000 spectators passed through the gates over the course of the weekend – two-thirds of the 120,000 capacity at the newly-constructed Korea International Circuit in Yeongam County – the event was hailed as 'the perfect start to plans to develop the sport in the country' [see separate story – click here
]. Following months of speculation and doubts that the grand prix would even be able to go ahead, that appears to be the general consensus amongst the paddock's occupants, too.
“This was a tough event [due to the rain] and I must praise the FIA, the organisers, officials and marshals at the track as well as the teams for maintaining professionalism throughout,” remarked Bridgestone's Director of Motorsport, Hiroshi Yasukawa. “The organisers have done a fantastic job to bring F1 to this new and exciting market, and I think many fans here and around the world enjoyed this superb race.”
“It was great that we could go racing and give all the Korean fans and everyone who has put so much effort into making this race happen, the show they wanted to see,” agreed Lotus Racing chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “They were rewarded with an historic event, with the race finishing in the dark and some excellent action up-and-down the field.”
One man who perhaps did not enjoy the 'action' quite so much was Red Bull Racing star Mark Webber, whose costly accident in torrential conditions on only the second racing lap cost the Australian the F1 2010 World Championship lead. Nonetheless, the 34-year-old told his personal website afterwards that he was impressed by the manner in which officials had listened and swiftly responded to concerns about the circuit in the wake of Friday practice.
“It was an enjoyable track to drive,” Webber affirmed. “It had three very distinct sectors – long straights in sector one, some fast changes of direction in sector two and some tighter corners in sector three. It was also a good technical challenge, because we weren't using maximum levels of downforce due to the long straights at the start of the lap.
“The organisers were very accommodating, too. We suggested a couple of changes to the kerbs in the drivers' briefing on Friday, and the changes had been made by Saturday morning.”