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Formula One Is Coming to Korea

Posted October. 03, 2006 06:58,   


The Olympic Games in 1998, the FIFA World Cup in 2002, and Formula One Grand Prix Racing in 2010.

Generally considered as one of the three major sports events of the world alongside the Olympic Games and the World Cup, Formula One will be coming to Korea in 2010.

In the contract ceremony held on October 2 at the Westin Chosun Hotel located at Jung-gu, Seoul, together with Park Joon-yung (59), the provincial governor of South Jeolla Province, and Jeong Yeong-jo (46), the president of Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO), Bernie Ecclestone (76), the CEO of Formula One Management (FOM), announced that F1 Grand Prix will be held in Korea starting in 2010.

South Jeolla Province, which is to host races annually from 2010 until 2016, will embark on circuit construction in 2007 in Yeongam County, a southwest coast developmental district for tourism and leisure industries, and finish it in 2009. Planned on vast grounds of 1.5 million pyeong, the new stadium was designed by the famous German circuit architect, Hermann Tilke. According to KAVO, it will be a massive 250-billion won project.

With this contract signed, Korea will become the fifth Asian country to host F1 after Japan (1976), Malaysia (1999), China (2004), and Bahrain (2004), and the 25th country in the whole world. To host the race, the province had to go through a fierce competition against seven other countries including Russia, Mexico, and Singapore. Last month, through joint investment with F1 promoter M-bridge Holdings, the provincial government founded KAVO, a company designed to manage the Grand Prix.

To some extent, 2010 already seems rather late for Korea, the fifth-biggest automobile producer of the world (3,699,000 last year), to host F1. Korea has been the only one of the world’s top 10 motor producing countries that hasn’t yet hosted an F1 race.

The president of KAVO, Jeong Yeong-jo, said, “It will not only vitalize the provincial economy, but also positively affect the development of the country’s high-tech motor industry.” FOM’s CEO Ecclestone also commented, “F1 will bring a culture shock to Korea. We will provide our full cooperation to bring up a Korean F1 driver and a Korean F1 team, so that the first Grand Prix in 2010 could be held successfully.”