The Korean Grand Prix: Is It Necessary?

The Grand Prix of Korea, is it really necessary?

The Formula 1 calendar is an epic collection of racing spanning the globe. The 10 month season is one of the longest in any sport and 2012 hopes to expand upon that. With a schedule so packed, it’s only natural to wonder how valuable some races actually are.

Last weekend saw the return of the Grand Prix of Korea, a race still in it’s infancy. There have been numerous complaints about the track, specifically the pit entrance and exit. Both have been criticized by the drivers and the teams. The exit is particularly hairy, as it opens right into turn 1 of the track. The lack of runoff and excessively close barriers, have also been complaints. The track’s location, 400 km outside of Korea’s capital in Seoul, has made the event a difficult sell. The inability to get people to the race, has impacted ticket sales. There have been reports that the race is already in financial trouble. For anyone watching, that became pretty obvious as the circuit still appeared to be under construction. After the race’s running in 2010, the gates were closed and the track forgotten about. Upon returning for 2011, teams discovered last year’s food, left in the refrigerators or their suites.

So could we be looking at the Grand Prix of Turkey all over again? Track in the boonies, falling ticket sales and poor attendance; it sure seems like it. For the most part the racing has been uninspired. Many have said that it’s one of the most boring on the calendar. I would have to agree. Apart from the Grand Prix of Europe, I can’t think of another race that left me wanting more. Valencia is notorious for being little more than a practice session for the teams and it appears Korea could be filling that role as well. You don’t even get a sense the fans care for the sport either. In places like Monza and Suzuka, the Formula 1 grand prix is practically a holiday. In Korea it seems to be little more than an exhibition. At Friday practice, the stands were virtually empty. The weather certainly played a part in that, but it hasn’t stopped the fans at other tracks like Spa. I suppose time will be the telling factor. It just seems that with an overly crowded schedule, some cutting should occur.

To put it frankly, it’s a dreadful race on a poorly designed track, in the middle of nowhere.

Photos courtesy of Sutton Images & Virgin Racing.



    1. I was thinking that very thing, as I wrote this post. I really hope that the USGP isn’t ruined by the “Americanness” that seems to infiltrate every other good thing we get our hands on.

      The track could be hit or miss. At least it’s not 200 miles from the nearest city and at least that nearest city is Austin, a far better venue than Indianapolis.

  1. USGP may not even happen. Look at the current state of the track. Sure it looks cool in super slow mo when Coulthard driving, but it needs to be completed in a year. Plus Circuit of the Americas is having a spat with Full Throttle Productions, so who knows? Somehow Korea managed to “get it done” last year and India seems to be on the same path.

    Tilke tracks are boring to watch. I think the key to improving the “spectacle” of F1 is to put them on slower tracks, therefore less aero, therefore easier passing. But that’s just the opinion of this guy.

    1. I’m sure the track will be ready for the race next November. Last month I saw video from Buddh International Circuit and it also appeared to be in a state of disarray. The track definitely wasn’t ready for cars or people for that matter.

      I’m not a fan of Tilke tracks. Yeah, they’re very fast but like you said, boring to watch. You never see that level of wheel to wheel racing as on other circuits. I think they should explore some different tracks or find a new guy to design them. Sometimes the latest and greatest doesn’t always mean the best.

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