Mike Stevens | Sep 28, 2010

Two of F1's leading team bosses, like F1 Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone, have expressed concerns about the forthcoming Korean Grand Prix.

On paper, there are four races left to run on the 2010 calendar, but some are now worried 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 airfares 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," team boss Martin Whitmarsh said.

"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," Christian Horner said.

"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 said 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," he added.

(GMM)

 

Korea Insists Track Will Be Ready

Race organisers have hit back against reports that the inaugural Korean Grand Prix was in danger of being called off.

With just three weeks before teams are due to fly to Korea, there is still uncertainty surrounding the readiness of the track. Final inspection will not take place until October 11 - by which time much of the sport's freight will have left Suzuka.

This creates an issue for the World Championship, with the title protagonists not really sure if there are 3 or 4 contests still to run.

"We will have no problem in hosting the race on October 24 as we have almost completed work," a spokesman for organiser KAVO is quoted in a Sapa/AFP wire report on Monday.

He insisted that the track will be ready by Charlie Whiting's October 11 inspection.

"We will rush to complete work and FIA officials will see a complete circuit when they conduct a final inspection in two weeks," he said.

The fears about cancellation of the race was ramped up by F1 Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone, who on Sunday admitted for the first time that he is concerned about the situation.

"We take Ecclestone's remarks seriously as a message that we have to step up preparations for the race," said the spokesman.

(GMM)

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