FIA preview Korean Grand Prix at Yeongam
12 October, 2011
Oct.12 (FIA) For round 16 of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the grand prix circus moves to South Korea, for the second Korean Grand Prix. It does so with this year’s drivers’ title already decided.
After Sebastian Vettel earned the single point he needed with third place at last weekend’s Korean GP. That podium position – his 14th of the year – made him the youngest double Formula One World Champion, at the age of 24, three months and six days, and only the ninth double champion since 1950.
The contructors’ title remains open, however, despite the 518-388 lead enjoyed by Red Bull Racing over McLaren. The gap is 130 points, with a maximum of 172 still available.
Construction of the Korea International Circuit was overseen by race organisers KAVO – the Korean Auto Valley Operation – in collaboration with architects Tilke GmbH. For this, Tilke’s sixth ‘from-scratch’ Formula One undertaking, the company took design inspiration from Korean emblems: the main grandstand roof is modelled on the eaves of a ‘Hanok’, a traditional Korean house.
From Race Director Charlie Whiting
“We’re hoping for a slightly easier race this year than last. 2010 was very difficult for a number of reasons. The circuit was very late, as we know, and lots of problems had to be sorted out between practice sessions. We’re hoping it won’t be like that this year and we’re optimistic that things will have improved considerably.
The track was quite a hit with the drivers as it was quite challenging. The only thing that was a little bit of a problem was the long straight between T2 and T3, in the wet, as visibility was quite difficult.
A good deal of marshal training has gone on since last year, with the help of CAMS, which will also help the event run smoothly.”
Length of lap: 5.615km
Lap record: 1:50.257 (Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 2010)
Start line/finish line offset: 0.195km
Total number of race laps: 55
Total race distance: 308.630km
Pitlane speed limits: 60km/h during practice, 100km/h during race
Changes to circuit since 2010:
Several changes have been made to improve verges and kerbing around the circuit.
The wall between T16 and T18 on the drivers’ right has been moved back in order to improve visibility through the corner.
Korean GP Fast Facts
• Pirelli’s tyre compounds this weekend are prime: soft (yellow) and option: supersoft (red). The tight, almost street-circuit nature of Yeongam, with its relatively low-grip surface, has led Pirelli to offer the same compounds as for the Monaco, Canadian, Hungarian and Singapore GPs.
• The main straight at the Korea International Circuit covers 1050m, the fourth longest of the season, after Shanghai International Circuit (1170m), Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina (1140m) and Italy’s Monza (1120m).
• The circuit is located in Yeongam on reclaimed land between the hills outside the city of Mokpo in the south western province of Jeollanam-do. KIC is approximately 400km from South Korea’s capital, Seoul.
• Building KIC, which hosted its first Formula One Grand Prix last year, is estimated to have cost $270m, in a deal that has been part-financed by the Korean government.
• The circuit is designed to be part-permanent, part-Formula One-only. For the Grand Prix, the permanent track layout is extended to run alongside the nearby waterfront and harbour.
• 120,000 grandstand seats will line the circuit. The total spectator capacity is 135,000.
• Twenty-six laps of the 2010 race were completed under the Safety Car, equivalent to 47.3 percent of the total race distance.
• Newly crowned World Champion Sebastian Vettel has won nine of the 15 2011 races to date. He has finished off the podium only once: fourth at the German GP in July.
• Vettel’s record this year already places him third in the list of wins in a season, alongside Nigel Mansell (1992) and Michael Schumacher (1995, 200-2001).
• The record for most wins in a season is held by Michael Schumacher, who scored 13 from 18 races in 2004. He also won 11 from 17 in 2002.
• Vettel’s winning ‘strike rate’ currently stands at 24.68 per cent, with 19 wins from 77 starts, placing him 10th on the all-time list. The record is held by five-time World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio, who won 24 of 52 races – a 46.15 winning percentage.
• Eight drivers have previously won back-to-back Formula One drivers’ world titles: Alberto Ascari (1952-3); Juan Manuel Fangio (1954-7); Jack Brabham (1959-60); Alain Prost (1985-86); Ayrton Senna (1990-91); Michael Schumacher (1994-95 and 2000-04); Mika Hakkinen (1998-99) and Fernando Alonso (2005-06).
• South Korea’s national sport is Taekwondo, a martial art. An Olympic sport since 2000, the origins of Taekwondo are in military training.
The FIA driver steward at this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix will be Martin Donnelly, who raced in Formula One for Arrows and Lotus. Ulsterman Donnelly, 47, was a star of junior racing categories in the 1980s before making his grand prix debut with the Arrows team at the 1989 French GP, substituting for Derek Warwick. He was offered a race drive at Lotus alongside Warwick for 1990 and started 12 races, finishing a best of 7th at the Hungarian GP, before suspension failure caused a huge accident in practice for the Spanish GP at Jerez, that ended his top-line driving career. Despite the serious multiple injuries he suffered, Donnelly recovered sufficiently to race competitively in national events.
He now runs the Donnelly Track Academy in Norfolk and has held a number of racing team management positions.
Garry Connelly has been involved in motor sport for 40 years.
A long-time rally competitor, Connelly has been an event Clerk
of the Course for rallying, off-road and race meetings, and was Chairman of the Organising Committee of the WRC Rally Australia for 16 years. He has also been an FIA Steward and FIA Observer since 1989, covering the FIA’s World Rally Championship, World Touring Car Championship and Formula One World Championship.
He is a director of the Australian Institute of Motor Sport Safety and a member of the FIA World Motor Sport Council. Outside motorsport he holds the directorship of several companies.
José Abed, an FIA Vice President since 2006, began competing in motor sport in 1961. In 1985, as a motor sport official, Abed founded the Mexican Organisation of International Motor Sport (OMDAI) which represents Mexico in the FIA. He sat as its Vice- President from 1985 to 1999, becoming President in 2003.
In 1986, Abed began promoting truck racing events in Mexico and from 1986 to 1992, he was President of Mexican Grand Prix organising committee. In 1990 and 1991, he was President of the organising committee for the International Championship of Prototype Cars and from 1990 to 1995, Abed was designated Steward for various international Grand Prix events.
Since 1990, Abed has been involved in manufacturing prototype chassis, electric cars, rally cars and kart chassis.