Karun Chandhok completes first F1 run at new Korea track

By Gareth Llewellyn
karun chandhok
(Photo: Nelson Wu)

karun chandhok

Karun Chandhok has become the first man to drive a Formula 1 car at the new Korean International Circuit during a special event in Yeongam.

The Hispania Racing driver was loaned out to Red Bull to complete 14 laps around the South Korean circuit in Red Bull’s 2009 ‘show car’ at the event, which was attended by 4,000 spectators.

Formula BMW and Korean touring cars were also in attendance during the warm-up for the inaugural Korean Grand Prix on 24 October.

“Everyone has been a bit doom and gloom about it but it’s actually not that bad,” said Chandhok. “Looking at the facilities, the garages and team buildings look pretty much finished, and they’re big. I think teams will need to bring around 30% more furniture to fill them, and the grandstands also look reasonably finished.

“The track itself needs a bit more work on the asphalt and the kerbs, but the organisers think it’s all within their time-lines and are confident that it will be ready on time.”

The event was highly-anticipated given the recent speculation over the state of the circuit ahead of its Formula 1 debut and the organisers did well to bring 4,000 fans through the doors at short notice.

Images of the circuit’s debut laps showed construction workers and materials at the side of the race track, a lack of fencing in many places, and the new asphalt’s final layer yet to be laid.

Chandhok added: “The straight after turn one and two is really long, so we may see some good slip streaming there, like in Shanghai. From turn seven onwards, there’s a fast section of flowing corners all the way back to the start-finish line–so I think the Red Bull Racing guys will be happy in sectors two and three. It’s an interesting layout.”

FIA race director Charlie Whiting will visit the circuit on 21 September—just 30 days before the race weekend is due to get underway—with the sport’s governing body allowing organisers as long as possible to get the track ready.s

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