Already with a question mark hanging over its future on the F1 calendar, the Korean Grand Prix reported another substantial financial setback following its third running, but organisers insist that the race can be a success going forward.
The race, hailed as a potential breakthrough for expanding F1 into new regions, had failed to take off, either among the local population or as a television spectacle, and has suffered large operating losses each time. This year's event, run last month, lost $36.4m according to local media.
The Yeongam circuit is currently in the midst of a seven-year deal with Bernie Ecclestone, but has already come under threat of the axe after failing to attract a sizeable crowd and requesting a reworking of its financial commitment. The track was designed to be the centre piece of a multi-purpose resort, with elements of both road and street course built into its layout. Sadly, the surrounding area remains undeveloped.
"It's hard to say what kind of impact the loss has on next year," race organisers were quoted as telling Reuters
, "Although there are many concerns regarding the operating loss, the loss for a third straight year is only a short-term effect.
"In the long-term, the F1 event will bring more benefits to the country. It will not only pave the way for South Korean car industries in the future, but also help foster new industries."
Korea has been included on the 2013 F1 schedule, where the only change was to replace Valencia's European Grand Prix with a second American event in New Jersey. That project has now been delayed by a season, with the intention of reinstating it on the 2014 calendar.