Korean Grand Prix given go-ahead after FIA inspections
FIA inspectors have given the green light for the inaugural Korean Grand Prix to go ahead after two days of inspections.
The purpose-built Korean International Circuit in Yeongam, which is about four hours’ drive from Seoul, was given the go-ahead after a final inspection by the FIA’s race director Charlie Whiting.
The race, scheduled to take place on 24 October, had been under threat after photographs emerged showing an unfinished track, grandstands, and other buildings, leading the FIA to bend its own rules to give the organisers as much time as possible to complete the work needed in time for the event.
The final layer of asphalt for the circuit was only laid last week, and Whiting’s green light came after being satisfied that the circuit and facilities met engineering requirements.
Race promoter Yung Cho Chung welcomed the FIA approval. “We are delighted that all works are now finished to the complete satisfaction of the FIA, and we join the whole of Korea in welcoming the Formula 1 fraternity to the Korea International Circuit for the first time.
“The KIC has been constructed to the highest standards, and will become the epicentre of motorsport in the country. We believe the Korean Grand Prix will be the catalyst to ignite enormous interest in the sport across the nation.”
While the circuit is understood to be completed, the latest aerial photos show that the facility’s infrastructure still has some way to go, but the teams are under no illusion that the KIC will be in perfect condition when they arrive next week.
At such a crucial stage in the season, imperfect conditions at a race are preferable to a cancellation. It is a momentous occasion for South Korea after seeing new F1 Asian races spring up in Singapore and China in recent years, and the country’s car manufacturers and electronics companies hope to take advantage of having their own race.
The go-ahead is particularly good news for McLaren, who are chasing championship-leading Mark Webber and Red Bull, as cancellation would have left the British team with just two races and an even more impossible situation from which to challenge.
Webber increased his lead in the drivers’ championship to 18 points with a second-place finish in Japan last weekend, with his team stretching their lead over McLaren to 45 points courtesy of their third one-two of the season.