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Foreign Media Question F1 Korea Grand Prix

Posted September. 30, 2010 07:49,   


Doubts have flared up over whether the Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix will take place, as foreign media have questioned the convening of the event some 20 days before its opening.

The Korea Auto Valley Operation, the Korean operator of the championship, and the event`s organizing committee said the completion of the racetrack has been delayed but denied a problem in hosting the event whatsoever.

The German daily Die Welt along with other European media outlets reported Tuesday that the second layer of the Korea International Circuit racetrack in Yeongam County, South Jeolla Province, the venue of the race, has not been paved due to bad weather, including typhoons.

Die Welt also said, “The final validation by FIA (Fédération Internationale de l`Automobile), which was scheduled in June, was delayed to late this month. The schedule has been delayed again to October,” adding, “If the racetrack is not completed before the final validation, the championship could be canceled.”

Formula One Management Chairman Bernie Ecclestone, who has expressed confidence in the successful hosting of the Korean Grand Prix, said he is worried but hopes things are okay as claimed.

This is not the first time for European media to attack the Korean race. Their focus was repeated delays in the completion of the racetrack originally set for August.

Negative reporting on the event, however, was also affected in large part by misinformation about the speedway`s construction of the speedway communicated overseas. The second-layer paving of the Korea International Circuit racetrack has been completed, with only the final layer yet to be paved.

The final phase of paving requires the paving of asphalt concrete without leaving seams. Once the final paving is done, no vehicle can enter before the opening of the F1 championship.

The Korean operator said it only delayed the paving of the final layer to hold a celebration 50 days before the race Sept. 4-5, and that it is scheduling paving work in line with the final validation set for Oct. 11.

On the delay of the validation schedule, the operator said, “The date FIA suggested happened to coincide with the Chuseok (Full Moon Harvest) holidays, so we set a new schedule due to fears over traffic delays over the holidays.”

Countries that previously held F1 championships for the first time also come under fire like a rite of passage. If the Korean Grand Prix is held without problems, chances are high that the event will prove to be a success.

Attracting the most interest is who will emerge as the first champion of the Korean Grand Prix, something which will create many topics of conversation on the event.

Competition among the top five contenders, who are only racing within a gap in the range of 25 points at this point in time when 15 rounds have been finished, will likely culminate in the FI race in Korea.

hanwshin@donga.com shjung@donga.com