BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld did his bit to raise both awareness and anticipation of Formula One in Korea by taking to the streets of Seoul at the weekend.
The German performed the obligatory burn-outs and donuts as he performed to an estimated 30,000-strong crowd on the streets of the capital's central business district at Samsung-dong over the weekend, as Korea celebrated the second anniversary of its confirmation on the 2010 Formula One world championship schedule.
The F1 City Shock event transformed the roads around Korea's World Trade Centre into a race circuit for the day, as grand prix promoter Korea Auto Valley Operation [KAVO] and S Cheolla Province continued to ramp up the country's anticipation of its full F1 debut in two year's time.
“I am filled with emotion as we celebrate the second anniversary of Korea's successful bid to host an F1 grand prix," S. Cheolla Province governor Joon Young Park commented, "I hope that today's momentum, which surely helped the public learn why the world is so crazy about F1, is sustained all the way through to the Korean Grand Prix.”
Despite Korea's status as the world's fifth largest automobile manufacturer, F1 was not recognised among Korea's most popular sports at the time of the announcement two years ago, but nearly 30,000 people were attracted to the business district to witness Heidfeld's tyre-smoking display on Saturday. The premise was not only to celebrate the country's place in the F1 fraternity, but also to help convince the population that a grand prix could be both as exciting and beneficial to Korea as hosting the Olympic Games and football World Cup had been.
Heidfeld produced the sort of visual display that has become common-place in city centres courtesy of BMW Sauber's Race Park and Renault's F1 Roadshow initiatives, as he performed both donuts and wheel-spinning starts to his runs along the streets.
"I never expected the reaction by the Koreans to be this great," the German admitted, "Now I'm looking forward to returning for the Korean Grand Prix in two years' time."
The inaugural Korean Grand Prix, which will join recent additions Valencia and Singapore - as well as 2009 debutant Abu Dhabi - on an ever-changing schedule, is due to be held at the tentatively-named, and currently under-construction, Korea International Circuit, for seven years from 2010.