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Formula One Korea Grand Prix

Posted October. 13, 2010 11:26,   


Michael Jordan dominated pro basketball while Tiger Woods was the king of golf before his marital troubles. In auto racing, Michael Schumacher reigned over the sport with seven world championships and 91 Formula One Grand Prix titles. Retiring in 2006, the German was the world`s highest-paid sportsman with 100 million U.S. dollars in earnings per year. Though Koreans are not so familiar with auto racing, it is very popular in the West. “Days of Thunder” and “The Fast and the Furious,” two films about the sport, attracted huge popularity across the world.

Formula One Grand Prix, the world’s largest auto racing event, is considered one of the world’s top three sporting competitions along with the World Cup soccer finals and the Olympics. Twenty-two drivers representing 11 teams tour 17 to 18 countries each year, competing for driver and constructor championships. The highest scorer at the end of the season wins the event. Formula One Grand Prix is broadcast in 184 countries for an average of 162 hours a year, attracting 600 million viewers. Among the world’s top 10 automakers, all countries except Korea have hosted the event. The U.S. has 328 racetracks and Japan 21.

The speed in auto racing is beyond human imagination. The highest recorded speed of a Formula One car is 355 kilometers per hour, but the speed perceived by the driver is 700-800 kilometers per hour. Formula One also involves a contest of technology. Carmakers bring advanced technologies to the event and apply them later in the mass production of cars. Racing cars at the Grand Prix are manufactured manually with high-tech materials and priced at more than 10 billion won (8.8 million dollars) each.

Korea will host this year’s Formula One race Oct. 22-24 in Yeongam, South Jeolla Province, following approval from the sport’s world governing body FIA. Foreign media incorrectly predicted that Korea would not host the event due to a delay in racing track construction. The country’s hosting has also invited criticism because of the event’s huge cost and sluggish domestic demand for motor sports. The race has cost 340 billion won (300 million dollars), including 176 billion won (150 million dollars) from state coffers. Yet Korea is experienced in hosting international sporting events that have boosted national power. A successful hosting of the Formula One Grand Prix will contribute to raising Korea’s national image once again.

Editorial Writer Chung Sung-hee (shchung@donga.com)