Two of F1’s leading team bosses have admitted they, like F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, have concerns about the forthcoming Korean grand prix.
On paper, there are four races left to run on the 2010 calendar, but real concerns that the new Yeongam circuit will not be ready to host its inaugural race on October 24.
The FIA rules require new tracks to pass a final inspection three months before their first race. But the governing body and Ecclestone have allowed Korea to delay its inspection until October 11 — when air fares and hotels will be booked, and much of F1’s freight en route to the east Asian nation.
Another crucial consideration is that whether there are 3 or 4 races left to run has an impact on how the teams – particularly those battling for the title – will approach the rest of the season.
McLaren, for instance, is hoping Korea stays on the calendar, given the points deficits of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
“We would like four races but from what we hear there are a lot of concerns,” said team boss Martin Whitmarsh.
“Bernie and the Koreans will work on that, and we will concentrate on going to the next race in Suzuka and maximising the points.”
Red Bull, meanwhile, has a better insight than most about Korea, after Karun Chandhok recently completed a demonstration of the track at the wheel of an old F1 car.
“We were there a few weeks ago and they were well on course with it, so we’re pretty confident,” said Christian Horner.
“At the moment all the flights are still booked.”
With Mark Webber leading the championship and his teammate Sebastian Vettel further behind, team boss Horner admitted his drivers have different opinions about the fate of the Korean round.
“Mark would say no (to Korea) and Sebastian would say yes, and obviously from a team point of view it (cancellation) wouldn’t be a bad thing either,” he said.
“But I think we’ll definitely be in Korea.
“I had a chat with (Ecclestone) earlier — he now seems pretty confident,” added Horner.
© RIF | GMM