2010 Korean Grand Prix Preview

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Round 17 - Korean International Circuit

Summary
As one of the closest championship battles of recent times enters the final straight, this weekend will see an extra factor of unpredictability added to proceedings with a race at a brand new venue at Yeongam in South Korea.

The new circuit has been built in the coastal south-west of the country, with Hermann Tilke naturally taking charge of the construction. The layout is one, like Abu Dhabi, of a split character, with a temporary section running along the coast in a (proposed) new marina, while the remainder of the permanent facility forms a conventional modern circuit, on paper at least.

Building work on the $264 million venue is still ongoing, and final FIA approval was only granted 11 days before the first F1 car is intended to turn a wheel in anger. While the circuit and race facilities are up to scratch, concern has been expressed regarding availability of accommodation for the numbers of spectators expected. The track has a theoretical fan capacity of 135,000.

It is fair to say that the Korean peninsula has not seen a lot of international motorsport events over the years. The Portuguese enclave of Macau in neighbouring China has hosted a celebrated end-of-season Formula Three race since 1983, and in 1999 a street race in Changwon, in south-eastern Korea, was instituted to form a double-header with Macau, saving the teams' travel budgets, and so the Korea Super Prix was born. Jenson Button was runner-up in that inaugural event to fellow Brit Darren Manning, while in 2000 the podium was filled by future F1 backmarkers Narain Karthikeyan, Tiago Monteiro and Gianmaria Bruni. The final Super Prix, in 2003, saw Lewis Hamilton on pole position, but the McLaren protege was eliminated in a first-corner collision with Nelsinho Piquet.

It would be remiss not to mention that South Korea's Kumho have been the official tyre suppliers to the Formula 3 Euroseries for a number of years now, while the country's biggest car manufacturer, Hyundai, competed in the World Rally Championship with their Accent model from 2000-2003. Rumours continue to link Hyundai to an F1 project at some indeterminate time in the future, though previously mooted suggestions of a link-up with Prodrive now look distinctly unlikely.

The Yeongam circuit features three lengthy straights ending in big braking zones, and two probable overtaking opportunities at Turns 3 and 4. The remainder of the lap consists of a busy sequence of left and right combination turns, taken at medium-to-high speed, that should play into the hands of cars with high downforce levels. Simulations suggest a lap time of around 1 minute 40 seconds, at an average speed of 120mph, broadly comparable to Montreal or Valencia. Like the last new venue in Abu Dhabi, the lap runs anticlockwise, with the pitlane on the outside of the circuit along the seafront. The track is likely to be hard on brakes, while oil from the freshly-laid tarmac may mean a low-grip surface, particularly if it rains. October is one of the driest months in Korea, however, and average temperatures are mild at 22 Celsius.

There isn't much to go on for those seeking trends to base their predictions on. The podium finishers at the most recent new venue races have been:

Abu Dhabi, 2009: 1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 2. Mark Webber (Red Bull), 3. Jenson Button (Brawn)
Singapore, 2008: 1. Fernando Alonso (Renault), 2. Nico Rosberg (Williams), 3. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
Valencia, 2008: 1. Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 2. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 3. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber)
Istanbul, 2005: 1. Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren), 2. Fernando Alonso (Renault), 3. Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren)
Shanghai, 2004: 1. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), 2. Jenson Button (BAR), 3. Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren)
Bahrain, 2004: 1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 2. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), 3. Jenson Button (BAR)

Current Drivers' Records at New Grands Prix
Rubens Barrichello1191st (1)2920
Michael Schumacher851st (2)2721
Fernando Alonso651st (1)2601
Jenson Button662nd (1)2400
Sebastian Vettel331st (1)1700
Lewis Hamilton322nd (1)1410
Jarno Trulli644th (1)1420
Felipe Massa541st (1)1110
Nico Rosberg332nd (1)900
Mark Webber642nd (1)920
Timo Glock334th (1)700
Nick Heidfeld655th (1)710
Robert Kubica333rd (1)600
Heikki Kovalainen334th (1)500
Kamui Kobayashi116th (1)300
Sebastien Buemi118th (1)100
Vitantonio Liuzzi1115th (1)000
Adrian Sutil3117th (1)002
Jaime Alguersuari10Ret010
Lucas di Grassi0-----
Nico Hulkenberg0-----
Vitaly Petrov0-----
Bruno Senna0-----
Sakon Yamamoto0-----
[td]Driver[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]

Chassis Records at New Grands Prix (1993-onwards)
Ferrari22151st (4)6552
McLaren22131st (2)6381
Williams22161st (2)5642
Renault22161st (2)5106
Mercedes GP14112nd (1)3630
Red Bull14121st (1)2911
BMW Sauber21163rd (1)1823
Force India22153rd (1)1034
Toro Rosso21125th (1)963
Lotus444th (1)300
Hispania0-----
Virgin0-----
[td]Chassis[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]
Results for Renault include Benetton
Results for Mercedes GP include BAR, Honda and Brawn
Results for Red Bull include Stewart and Jaguar
Results for BMW Sauber include Sauber
Results for Force India include Jordan
Results for Toro Rosso include Minardi


Engine Records at New Grands Prix (1993-onwards)
Renault34251st (4)9927
Ferrari42301st (4)7675
Mercedes-Benz26171st (1)6672
Cosworth45281st (2)39107
[td]Engine[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]
Results for Ferrari include Petronas
Results for Mercedes-Benz include Sauber
Results for Cosworth include Ford


All ranking figures are expressed as a % of total starts.
"Retirements-Acc" are retirements where the reason has been listed as Collision, Accident or Spun Off.
"New Grands Prix": 1993 EUR, 1994 PAC, 1996 AUS, 1997 AUT, 1999 MAL, 2004 BAH, 2004 PRC, 2005 TUR, 2008 EUR, 2008 SGP, 2009 ABU


Championship Contenders' Records at Anti-Clockwise Circuits
Fernando Alonso23201st (3)135127.57
Jenson Button27221st (1)883110.04
Felipe Massa18161st (5)77116.83
Lewis Hamilton1191st (2)65114.82
Mark Webber23131st (1)63638.09
Sebastian Vettel1081st (1)53116.5
[td]Driver[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]
(Felipe Massa included for comparison purposes)

Notes:
- Alonso finished seventeen successive anti-clockwise races in the top 10, from Brazil 2003 to Singapore 2009.
- Button has qualified on the front row for an anti-clockwise race only once in the past four seasons (2nd - Turkey 2009).
- Massa took seven successive pole positions at anti-clockwise courses from 2006-08, winning five and giving up a sixth at Interlagos in 2007.
- Hamilton has failed to finish the last two evening/night races (Brakes in Abu Dhabi 2009; Collision in Singapore 2010).
- Webber has scored the most points at anti-clockwise circuits in 2009 and 2010 to date (56).
- Vettel has started four anti-clockwise GPs on the front row, but only one from pole position (Turkey 2009).
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I don't know whether to be excited by this race or not. All the build up has been negative and I can't help approaching the race with the same attitude. All the circuits added to the calender over recent years, perhaps with the exception of Turkey, have been as dull as ditchwater and I just have this nagging doubt that the race won't even take place as the track will fall to pieces.

The other thing that gets me with all modern circuits is the "let's stick a long straight in, that's bound to create some overtaking", well it doesn't. The best overtaking circuits, in my opinion anyway, don't have long, long straights for the cars to blast down; combinations of slow and fast corners give good overtaking opportunities where the different aspects of different cars handling (and the ability of the respective drivers) have an effect. Ho hum...

I sincerely hope I'm wrong and it's an absolute blinder.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
I am always a little uneasy when a circuit with no prior experience stages an F1 race. In the old days, a circuit had to host a non-championship race to prove that it could handle it. Not possible now, with the extended championship calendar, but it was a very good idea.

Where are the marshalls for this event coming from? We've have lots of questionable calls from marshalls at circuits with extensive histories. If Korea is supplying the marshalls, they will have NO experience, so what are we to expect?

I hope that my aprehensions are groundless and the race is great.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Does that mean that the Championship now is being decided exclusively on anti-clockwise circuits? If so, who has the best record of the 5 contenders on anti-clockwise circuits?

(I reckon Massa has a pretty good ac record!)
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
siffert_fan said:
I am always a little uneasy when a circuit with no prior experience stages an F1 race. In the old days, a circuit had to host a non-championship race to prove that it could handle it. Not possible now, with the extended championship calendar, but it was a very good idea.

Where are the marshalls for this event coming from? We've have lots of questionable calls from marshalls at circuits with extensive histories. If Korea is supplying the marshalls, they will have NO experience, so what are we to expect?

I hope that my aprehensions are groundless and the race is great.
Its a very good point.Marshals are volounteers supplied and trained by the organising countries ASN.
Korea as you say has next to no experience in racing, certainly not a F1 levels.

The FIA supply three regular stewards who travel to every race and they are joined by guest fourth steward who is a retired racer.
Alan Jones will fill this role at Korea.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I think it was Abu Dhabi last year who used British marshals so I suspect Korea will do something similar.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
You may well be right.I don't remember.This year their not.

"The UAE Motorsport Marshal Club is looking for volunteer marshals for the Formula 1 GP to take place at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi come November. The recruitment drive is being backed and promoted by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE)."



http://www.carmiddleeast.com/article-8- ... als_needed
 

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Contributor
siffert_fan said:In the old days, a circuit had to host a non-championship race to prove that it could handle it. Not possible now, with the extended championship calendar, but it was a very good idea.
Of course it's possible, expansion or not. In the same way that it is standard procedure in the case of new stadia to hold smaller 'test' events before staging a major games such as the Olympics, and it could (and should) have been a requirement here. It's just that the powers that BE, in their infinite wisdom, haven't insisted on it.

On the subject of marshals, I am pretty sure Brogan is right about British ones being used for Abu Dhabi, but as a stop-gap measure for the first year, to give them time to recruit their own for ensuing seasons. I guess the Koreans might be using Japanese or Chinese marshals if political relationships allow.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
Chad Stewarthill,

Good question. By "marshalls" I mean both marshalls and stewards. Perhaps "officials" would have been a clearer indicator. Thanks for asking.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
teabagyokel said:
Does that mean that the Championship now is being decided exclusively on anti-clockwise circuits? If so, who has the best record of the 5 contenders on anti-clockwise circuits?
Stats and other related bits and bobs have been added to the original post.

teabagyokel said:
(I reckon Massa has a pretty good ac record!)
You're not wrong!
 
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