Despite this earlier confirmation, the South Korean Grand Prix was not included on any of the provisional 2010 calendars floated by Formula One Management. Following approval of funding for the event, however, Korea was given the date of 17 October on the 2010 calendar published by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) on 21 September 2009. On December 10, 2009, the organisers of the event announced that they were on schedule, with a plan to finish the circuit on July 5, 2010, though they admitted that their largest problem lay in finding accommodation for all Formula One staff and spectators. The organisers also ruled out the possibility of staging the race at night until they have more knowledge of and experience in running a Grand Prix. Despite all the confirmation there was still a risk that the circuit might not be on time, however this was denied by the race promoter who said that the circuit was ahead of schedule.
After several postponements, the FIA scheduled a final inspection of the circuit on 11 October 2010, 13 days before the Korean Grand Prix was scheduled to begin. After the FIA inspection, Race Director Charlie Whiting declared that the race would go ahead. Formula One drivers commented positively on the new circuit before the race weekend got under way, with several commenting that it looks like an interesting, challenging track.
The circuit came with a mix of different concepts, with a long straight and some high-speed corners early on in the lap, and then a series of tight blind bends at the end, around which the organizers hope to build a Monaco-like cityscape with a harbour. The slow sections contribute to making this one of the slowest average speed laps of any permanent circuit. This makes it quite a tough track to set the car up for, with a debate over whether straight line speed should be prioritized or higher downforce for the lower speed corners.
Track lenght : 5.615 kilometres
Race distance : 55 laps (308.630 kilometres)
Corners : 18 corners in total
Average speed : 209 km/h
Aerodynamic setup : Medium to High downforce
Top speed : 316km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 304km/h without
Full throttle : 55% of the lap time (ave)
Total fuel needed for race distance : 148.5 kilos (ave/ high)
Fuel consumption : 2.75 kg per lap (ave)
Time spent braking : 20% of lap (low)
Number of brake zones : 9
Brake wear : ave/high
Total time needed for pit stop : 20 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.37 seconds (high)
Fastest lap : Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault - 1:42.037
The Yeongam circuit’s position, close to the coast, means that it is susceptible to weather fronts and a tropical storm known as FITOW by the Japanese Typhoon Warning authorities, could be headed for the Yeongam area on Sunday or Monday. The 2010 race start had to be delayed and then the race was suspended due to heavy rain, while rain also blighted Friday practice in 2011.
Pirelli tyre choice for Korea: medium (white markings) and super soft (red markings). This combination – with new specification tyres – was seen in Singapore. One of the notable features of last year’s race at Yeongam was that there were lots of tyre marbles which got lodged in the front wings of cars, affecting downforce levels. F1 cars are sensitive to 1mm of difference in the slot gaps between wing elements so a large lump of rubber lodged in will have a big effect and will adversely affect lap time and tyre life.
Although the track surface is quite abrasive, which can lead to higher tyre wear the cooler conditions help with this generation of Pirelli tyres. So a two stop strategy looks the most likely way.
There was at least one Safety Car in both the 2010 and 2011 races at Yeongam, but last year did not feature one. There was a Safety Car due to the heavy rain at the start of the 2010 race and then the race was suspended. In total that race featured 26 laps, or 47% of the race distance, behind the Safety Car! In 2011 there were four laps spent behind the Safety Car.
The Korea International Circuit will have a second DRS zone this year on the pit straight, and the configuration of the original DRS zone has been changed. Drivers will still be able to use DRS on the longest straight on the track but the length of the DRS zone has been shortened by 40 metres. The detection point for it has also been moved – having previously been on the entry to turn one it is now after turn two.
OTHER TRACK CHANGES
ahead of this year's race, the pit exit has been re-aligned and now runs through the middle of the run-off area at Turn 1. Furthermore, the kerbs at the apexes of the pit exit are double-sided, 2x500mm wide and four metres in overall length with a maximum height of 25mm.
The artificial grass on the exit of Turns 1, 3, 10, 13 and 15 has been replaced by a more hardwearing product, while 'sausage' kerbs have been installed at the apex of Turns 4, 5, 9, 11, 13 and 14.
The verge behind the kerb at the apex of Turn 8 has been laid with concrete and the entire verge between the track and the asphalt run-off area around the outside of Turn 11 has been laid with asphalt, while the verge at the exit of Turn 13 has been extended with asphalt.
I was going to go fishing and skip the race as Vettel will probably wipe the floor with his car if it retained the advantage as in Singapore as Lewis Hamilton commented. But now since typhoon Fitow is on the way and might slap a touch on Yeongam, heavy rain might just make the race watchable. Lets hope for a wet race with no SC start.
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