Race report from Derrick Smith (organiser of tours to the Formula One venues)
After visiting no-mans land a year ago and all the negative press and late inspection of the circuit I was pleasantly surprised at how well the weekend turned out. Although there were major problems which the organizers already vowed to address the race was exciting and there was a great atmosphere. I got positive comments from all the people who joined us for the race and already started with arrangements for next years race.
The main problems were bad traffic congestion especially after the qualifying on Saturday. It went better on Sunday after they opened the extra lanes but an alternative route will have to be put in place. The second big problem was the drainage of water on the track during the race. It was not raining hard at all but the water collected on the track and the spray made it dangerous to race due to of bad visibility. Because the race was delayed it was dark when the race finished and at the parking areas there were no lights. This made it difficult for people to find their way through the muddy parking lots. Some of the temporary stands were closed because with the rush to get everything done they didn’t pass the safety inspections. Most people found this a blessing in disguise because these stands were the cheaper stands and people were seated in higher end stands. Friday everyone could sit on the main grandstands. I spend Friday on the Main Grandstand, Saturday at grandstand G and Sunday at grandstand A. I was disappointed because the race had to start behind the safety car because we expected a lot of excitement at the first turn but soon after the race restarted the second time we saw more action than we could have hoped for. Most people attending an F1 expect to see more than just the race. Although there were many events at different locations at the track and in Mokpo, the remoteness of the track and the late promotion of the event had people wondering what was happening when and where. Lots more accommodation is needed closer to the track. From the start however people knew that this is the first F1 track where the city will be built around the track unlike other existing street circuits. Well known F1 sites also failed to inform people of the lack of accommodation in the immediate vicinity of the track and instead sold accommodation in Seoul which is 3 hours and 40 minutes away from the track. Because I have visited the circuit a few times and booked our tour groups accommodation a year ago, we didn’t have this problem although we had to stay in Gwangju which is an hour from the track when there is no traffic congestion. Free tickets were offered without the consent of KAVO and when these fans were turned away at the gates, first time fans who could have been future fans of F1 in Korea left the circuit disappointed.
People from all over the world joined our tour and we had a a really great time. The circuit is challenging and has a good combination of high and low speed turns. With a year to sort out these logistical problems I am sure the Korean F1 will become a very popular F1 circuit.
Look out for next seasons Korean Grand Prix and make sure you check Derricks site for some great deals