October 12, 2010

Korea Is A Go!

After two days of inspections, Charlie Whiting, the FIA's Head Of All Things Technical, has given the Korean International Circuit a "satisfactory" grade in his report to the powers that be.  He walked the entire track, checking such things as curbing, asphalt smoothness, safety and runoff areas, facilities and the like, and proclaimed it suitable to be raced upon.

And he's probably right.  It just looks like a construction area.  All we really care about is the track itself, the rest of it is just for show... like Monaco.

It's amazing what ISN'T there, however.  For their track simulation, the creators of the new F1 2010 video game had access to the same CAD blueprints that the builders used.  Here's the result:

Well, perhaps the Koreans will pull off a miracle in the next two weeks, make the place actually look and feel professional.  Maybe they can borrow some North Korean "workers"...

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:13 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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1 Where are the paying customers supposed to sit? Seems like there should be a lot more grandstands than are there.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 12, 2010 07:06 PM (+rSRq)

2 There's supposed to be grandstands around the entire outside of Turn 1, as well as about half the long straight, and various other sites along the twisty bits.

Get this: most of the space on the inside of the circuit was going to be office buildings, a hotel and the like.  That big half-circle just before the front straight?  The inside of that was to be a marina!

As far as where the fans are supposed to sit in two weeks?  Who knows... maybe temporary bleachers will be set up, like at Monaco.

I'm not optimistic, though.

Posted by: Wonderduck at October 12, 2010 09:20 PM (2MleY)


A different question: is all the infrastructure in place to permit anything like a reasonable job televising it?

(The infrastructure to which I refer is cabling for the TV cameras, which I assume is permanent. Is that wrong?)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 12, 2010 11:12 PM (+rSRq)

4 I've always assumed the cabling is permanent (except at Singapore, Valencia and Monaco, which are all street courses and probably don't have permanent installations, for many reasons), but I don't actually know that.

I'd be willing to bet that at the newer tracks (Abu Dhabi, for example), they do have cable runs buried.  After actually thinking about it for a moment, I'd also be willing to bet that at the older circuits (Spa and Monza leap to mind), they don't.  Monza because the whole thing is a protected area, Spa because... well, it's Spa.  I'll look into it, see what I can dig up.

In any case, I'd assume that F1TV has the ability to run a gazillion miles of cable in preparation, if needed... but again, I don't actually KNOW that.

Posted by: Wonderduck at October 13, 2010 12:16 AM (2MleY)

5 It might not always be necessary. They might be using microwave masts, at least in part.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 13, 2010 01:00 AM (+rSRq)

6 Looks like Russia is a go too for '14. India next year & Berni is mooting South Africa soon also. This has to mean at least a 20 race season and with the rules as they are reliability will be a very serious problem for every team.

Posted by: Tony von Krag at October 15, 2010 02:43 AM (VGXAE)

7 No, a 20 race season isn't a foregone conclusion.  Japan, Turkey and China are not contracted after 2011, and there's every chance in the world that they won't be resigned.

I'd be PISSED if Japan went away, but the other two I'd have no problems losing.

Posted by: Wonderduck at October 15, 2010 08:10 AM (2MleY)

8 Living and working in Korea right now. I have tickets to the race. I'm glad it's a go. Got my tickets for grandstand J (cheap on the end of the "city coarse"). Facilities will probably be rough this year. I have seen small apartment buildings in Korea go up in a week. Sidewalks beautifully redone practically overnight. If anyone can pull a miracle I trust Koreans. It think biggest worry should be turn out. Although SK has some of the largest and most successful auto companies in the world they don't have a lot in racing. They aren't to hot on tuning either. It may be a tough sell here.

Posted by: greg at October 18, 2010 09:41 AM (qw6OO)

9 On one of the automotive forums I participate in, a member's wife is part of the paramedic/rescue support for the FIA. She reports the following info from what she's seen at the Korea track this week:

Drainage: Most of the trackside drains don't have covers on them, so if a car drops a wheel off, chances are they won't see it or the car again. They are "hopeful" to get covers set up in time. Also, due to a slight camber on one of the straights, whenever it rains a river flows across the track. Because of the construction everywhere this river consists of mud and clumps of grass. Could be interesting to hit that at speed.

Curbs: Because of the last minute nature of the construction, there aren't any expansion joints built into the curbs. They are starting to crack already and are looking marginal to last the race weekend.

Flag Points: When the original track map was drawn up, they plonked flag points down in spots that looked like they might work, without actually checking on the ground to see if they were viable. The construction workers, following the instructions to the letter, built them exactly where they were marked on the map. As a result some flag points are in completely the wrong spot and are unable to see preceeding and following points, rendering them utterly useless. And then we get to the flag point they built IN THE MIDDLE OF PIT LANE EXIT!

Communications: There isn't a hard-wired loop built into the track, so all flag point and emergency communications back to Race Control is done by hand held radios. This would be okay, but Race Control is built along the same lines as a bunker, with solid concrete walls and no windows. As a result the reception in and out is very flakey, with points being unable to hear Race Control, and vice versa. Also, there are black spots on the track where radios can't send or receive a thing.

The whole place is still a massive construction site. To their credit, the Koreans are putting in an amazing effort to try and fix the issues before cars get on track on Friday, with thousands of workers descending on the track every day.

The teams are all there, setting up their garages and walking around the track, and the team members my wife talked to were very scathing in their opinion of the place. They unanimously agreed that the race should have been cancelled for this year and a waiver put in to allow them to run in 2011.

Posted by: David at October 19, 2010 11:33 AM (rj+nH)

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