Korean F1 track aerial photo emerges

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Aerial photograph of the Korean F1 track

A photograph showing the state of progress of the track surface at Korea has emerged.

It’s not clear when the picture was taken but it’s possible to see some of the buildings that were in photographs released by the circuit earlier this week.

Those pictures showed little of the ground around the buildings which, as this pictures suggests, may be because it hasn’t been completed yet.

The asphalt around turns four, five and six is a paler colour to the rest, suggesting the surface-laying process had not been completed when this photograph was taken.

Korea is set to host its first Grand Prix on October 22nd-24th. Karun Chandhok is driving a demonstration lap of the circuit tomorrow.

The race promoters have been approached for comment on the image, and any responses will be added here.

Update: According to the data in the image, the picture was taken on August 30th, which was last Monday. Thanks to KerazyPete on Twitter for the tip.

Thanks to Prisoner Monkeys for the tip.

Read more: Korean track "90% complete" (Pictures)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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82 comments on “Korean F1 track aerial photo emerges”

  1. If they leave it like that it will just look like Abu Dhabi to the drivers! ;)

  2. I also saw a report, that the FIA is now willing to wait until Septmber 21th for final inspection of the circuit, only one month before the GP!

    The rules are the rules, but they can be bent at will.

    1. Cancelling the race couldn’t go down very well now could it? The FIA will fight to keep the dream alive just like Bernie.

      Still none of the run off seems to have been completed so there a serios chance huh?

      1. FWIW, having first hand experience in this matter – A paved runoff area can be built from dirt up in a week. A gravel trap takes even less time.

        However – placing the guardrails and catch fencing around that gravel trap can take 2-3 weeks.

        Obviously all of these times are completely relative to the amount of manpower you throw at a project, but it gives you a relative idea of the amount of work involved in each, and what the real concerns are.

        1. I have experience too in large commercial construction, both in the US and in Korea. The amount of work that remains cannot possibly be completed on-time, especially knowing the way construction companies work here.

    2. There are no rules here… (sigh)

    3rd September 2010, 10:18

    please be clock wise :(

    1. It’s anticlockwise.

      1. Looks like a great overtaking place at the end of the pit straight then. Similar approach to Stowe at Silverstone: a smooth curve into a long straight. The hairpin right in the middle of the track looks good too.

        Dare I say it – the racing might not be too rubbish?

        1. I just don’t see the need for the last three corners, the track is twisty enough, you could have given us a longer straight. That big sweeping corner will be cool to watch cars going through, but because the racinbg line is so tight there will be no overtaking down the straight because you’re automaticly gonna have the racing line exiting the corner. Poorly though out, in my book.

      2. One hell of a turn 1 in A/C mode… i think if it was Clockwise, it would be a very entertaining quick first lap!

      3. I have the horrible feeling that running it anticlockwise is going to limit and dampen what could be a pretty awesome highspeed circuit.

      4. That’s a pity. If it were anti-clockwise the corner above the pit straight (in the image) would make a very interesting and unique first corner, with entertaining starts!

        1. Clockwise I meant! Sorry! Getting so confused right now…

    2. Beats me why they don’t design new tracks to run both ways and have two races per weekend on them 1 in each direction – a sprint and a feature race – now that would be novel but i suspect a bit to forward thinking for the like of Tilke and co.

      1. It’s significantly more expensive to build run-offs and slots (the access points in the guardrail to get cars in & out) which work for a track to be run in both directions.

      2. It would be expensive to set up a track with run off areas for both directions, or boxes lanes, or start straight. This would also affect a lot the track lay-out.
        Anyway when I played PC games I used to run in the opposite direction, and it was really funny. Some curves were great, just imagine Eau Rouge steep downhill!!!

        1. You may need somewhat of a longish run off…
          *imagines runoff reaching Berlin*

  4. Is it just me or is the track SO unbelievably flat?

    1. Would it be so much of a problem if it was? Silverstone is flat. Monza is flat. Hockenheim is flat. They can still produce good racing.

      For the record, Korea is not flat. There’s a hill across he top setcion.

      1. It seems a bit of a pity they couldn’t move the track a further up that hill though, but you are right, that top, more downforce heavy, part of the track does seem to have a bit of elevation changes.

        Did we ever see an elevation map like we got from the new US track or from the India GP track?

        I do hope the racing will be good – Valencia, Singapore and Abu Dhabi were a let-down in terms of racing, and I notice I try not to hope too much from new tracks, to not be so disappointed after.

        1. Actually, it even seems that the turn 10 and 11 section might have some slight banking, that would be nice!

          And compared to the track layout that we saw posted, it seems that they smoothed out the bit from turn 11 until turn 16, so maybe that is a bit faster than it seemed. Turn 9 seems really tight, but maybe that is just due to it being a point lower than turn 8 and turn 10. Still, that seems like an interesting part of the track.

        1. Not swampland, but rice paddies. It’s an agricultural (farming) area with NO commercial activities anywhere nearby, until you go as far as Mokpo.

      2. yes. because it’s a crap circuit, it needs to make up for it’s blandness with some elevation change.

  5. I’ve never wanted a track to fail because I’ve always believed in giving them a chance. But this time, I feel differently. Corner after corner with three straights whose ability to produce overtaking will be nullified by all those corners spacing the cars out.

    Short of a reversed grid or rain, this GP looks like it’s going to be very processional :(

    1. Don’t hope for it to fail. It’s not like the circuit will be dropped after one race if it’s boring.

      I’ve said it before, and doubtless I’ll say it again: we need every kind of circuit on the calendar. We can’t have twenty Spas just as we can’t have twenty Shanghais. We need a mix.

      1. Well said. The champion should be the driver who deals best with different types of tracks, and the team that builds a car which isn’t just tailored to one type.

        If we’d had 20 Spas last year Adrian Sutil might have been world champion. I’m not sure that would have been right :D

        1. I’m sure Fisi would have taken the honors if we had 19 spas

          1. That was a result for the history books…

      2. At least anti-clockwise will soon not be so much of a unique feature that tracks feel a need to have it :-p

      3. yeah but the mix is poor at the moment. we needs a few more spas. too many tilke dromes and boring tracks at present.

        boring-catalunya, bahrain, valencia, abu dhabi, shanghai, hockenheim (tilkefied version), korea probably

        godlike (and I mean an incredible circuit)- spa, suzuka

        an imbalance i’d say.

      4. Um, I said I wanted it to fail at being ready on time. Like anyone would want a race to be boring.

        No, what we need is a mix of circuits that differ in length and speed by having different combinations of long and short straights, and slow and fast corners – Spa being one extreme and Monaco being the other, with most in between the two.

        What we don’t need a mix of circuits that have everything ordered sensibly and ones which have all the similar bits stuck together, with the three straights connecting the two ends of a massive squiggle.

    2. The track it most reminds me of is Sepang, High speed middle sector, Stop start long straights for the other two. All depends on how close the cars come out of the finally corners before the straights.

      I wouldn’t say it was a lost cause, totally Redbull track of course. Unless McLaren can do what they did in Turkey and hold on somehow for the straights.

  6. first corners will be interesting. AS einar AI said above its flat. If there was elevation in the first corner, or even just a hill where you first turn right then go left into the first main right hander. If that bit was up then down then right it would be a good corner.

    1. I think you are looking at it the wrong way: as Keith mentionned, it is anti-clockwise

  7. Juding by the run-off areas, it is anti-clockwise, which is a shame because it involves a very tight turn 1 and corners (like that last sequence) that would be better clockwise.

    New asphalt, which could mean either a ton of traction or no traction depending on the composition of the asphalt surface. I assume the builders would have learnt a lot about that from other new circuits that hosted F1 soon after completion

    Otherwise I am hoping that this photo is at least a month old, because there seems to be a hell of a lot of work left to do, especially since laying asphalt for a racetrack is tricky work to get right.

    (Just confirmed on Wikipedia that it is anti-clockwise, urgh – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_International_Circuit – turns 3 and 12 look like the only possible overtaking areas, 3 more than 12, although 3 might not be a slow or wide enough corner)

      1. Yeah, but its still rubbish. Why do that to themselves, have they ever heared of tubulence, or watched the Spanish Grand Prix?

        It just seems so stupid.

  8. Where’s the marina, and the higrises? Bernie isn’t going to be happy!

    1. No shortcuts, either. Tsk!

    2. Anyone else got a horrible feeling that Bernie is telling the Koreans to finish the hospitality complex and advertising hoardings, before they finish the track?

    3. I was thinking about that too. It’s supposed to be half permanent and half temporary track. Is this only the permanent track in this picture, then? Supposedly, the temporary track would make use of already existing parts of town (unless this refers to a “town” that still has to be built, much like Yas Marina Village on Yas Island).

      There should also be two pit lanes, one permanent and one temporary, because the start of the F1 Grand Prix will be on the temporary part of the circuit. If I’m not mistaken.

      1. Oh, wait, taking a better look at the picture, I can see it: it’s behind the hill, with the three-covered bits on it. They should take a picture from that side.

    4. I mentioned it a long time ago that the buildings in the artist’s concept pictures would not be there at the time of the race, and will probably never exist. Truth in advertising doesn’t exist here in Korea.

      July 1, 2009
      Until I see actual pictures, not “artist’s conceptions”, I will not believe that it’s 55% finished. I’ve lived here too long to be fooled by the hype. Songdo, a much more important project, has dragged on and on. The Incheon Airport was to have a business center, but only one building was built, and that is the main administration building for the airport. The rest of the area is the most wonderful grassy field that can be found in Korea. The artist’s conception shows numerous private business buildings, none of which will be financed by the same concern that is building the race track. My concerns are that if they do finish the track: 1. it will be essentially on an empty piece of land, 2. There are almost no accomodations anywhere nearby, and 3. that the race track will be built to Korean standards and will not be acceptable to the international racing community or the FIA.
      I watched, from the inside, the Incheon Airport being built. What I saw was truly scary. I’m afraid the same will happen here.

      Here’s the link:

  9. I hope that the race isn’t cancelled, as alot of my mates from mallala raceway (SA) have scored roles as senior marshals to teach the koreans how to marshal properly (same as the role they at singapore). Would be a same for them to miss out on their free holiday :P

  10. lol yea i thought there was gonna be a harbor next to it?

    1. Eventually there will be. For now the priority is getting the circuit ready.

  11. To me that does look as though it will be finished in time and that the circus will go there. But I still have doubts that the track will have matured enough to prevent the top surface lifting under the huge grip of F1 tyres which has happened many times before and which prompted the 90 day rule. Black top mixes are better than they used to be but it’s still asking a lot. But only first practice will tell.

  12. I don´t like the 3 slow corner after the permanent pits.

  13. There is a slightly higher resolution image on Adam Cooper’s blog: http://adamcooperf1.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/korea-overview.jpg

    1. That’s the same one Prisoner Monkeys posted which is linked to in the article.

      1. Yeah, I get around a bit.

  14. I thought that there would be some buildings surrounding the circuit,where are they? & even other then the main grandstand there are many viewing areas are missing.Hope they complete in time & put up a good show or it will be a shame for F1 for failing to organize an event.


    1. Those buildings haven’t ben finished yet. They haven’t even been started. The whole project has always been projected to take place over several years, but first of all – and most importantly – they need the circuit in place.

      1. The buildings will probably never be built. This is out in the boonies.
        The market is flat here for commercial property, even in the major cities. Only an idiot would finance a project 4+ hours (on a good day) from Seoul.

    2. omg – most expensive outside of Monaco or what? £700+ for a weekend ticket in main grandstand.. that’s bloomin expensive if you ask me!!

      1. sepang is much cheaper and a lot more fun.

  15. Does anybody else have the impression the first race will be through a building site?

    1. Sort of like Silverstone during the MotoGP this year, an the race for that matter.

  16. ooooh TARMAC !! yippee about time or has someone drawn over it with MAgic Marker to fool us :)

  17. That’s what they get for signing the track building contract with K.J.Il & Sons Construction Company.

  18. I would LOVE an analysis/documentary/interview with Hermann Tilke to know how he came up with this circuit. I mean i’m holding out judgement but…. its UGLY. Do great circuits overcome ugliness with our rose tinted glases? Somehow I don’t think so.

    We all know he loves the straights but what is with the squiggly second and third sectors? It really looks like the deformed runt brother of Sepang. Where Sepang has straights, it flows, it has the quick double of turns 7 and 8, this is just stop start. There’s no aesthetic to it at all.

    Ok I got a little aggresive there, seriously i’d love to know what got him to that layout, given the two straights idea what causes those sections to be the link, certainly isn’t the terrain or the proposed city in the middle. TALK TO US TILKE! :)

  19. It would of been better if it had disappeared over the hill in the background.

    Looks OK ‘ish, a bit plain, we’ll see

  20. HounslowBusGarage
    3rd September 2010, 13:09

    Well actually, I’m quite relieved in a way. At least there’s top-dressed tarmac on *most* of the circuit. Looks as though sector 2 needs top coat only and the pit lane needs a full set.
    Looking at this side of the pits, they appear to have built 14 team buildings, so I wonder if there’s something that Tilke has been told that Bernie hasn’t told us!
    The Marina bit (or lack of it) is a bit of a surprise as that kind of dredging and excavation will be bound to destabilise the surrounding earth; I would have though they would dredge first, stabilise the land, and then construct the semicircle of track afterwards.
    Is Karun doing the demo on the full GP circuit or the national circuit?

    1. That box will be for the FIA inspections i suppose!

  21. Turn 4 is a hairpin turn now? LAME

  22. It looks pretty interesting. Even if there are some sharped curves and hairpins that I could have avoided.
    I don’t understand why they build boxes and main grandstand there…if boxes were in the inside it would have been easier to build a short exit lane, and if the grandstand was on the outside the attendance would have seen a bigger portion of the track.

    Anyway, I hope the race will not be deleted from the calendar, because they seem to be pretty late!

    1. why the grandstand is inside the track. The spectator will only see the main straight, stupid Tilke.

      1. Similar to Austin. You can see the cars come by then spend the next two minutes plus checking your blackberry.

  23. The only spark here is the final 3 corners, which offer the hope of multiple fast racing ines and thus some close following down the next straight. It’s like the final complex and Mid-Ohio. Tilke finally took a look at Interlagos, instead of continuing to beat the straight-hairpin thing into the ground.

  24. So Keith, based on the link you RT’d (http://regex.info/exif.cgi?url=http://adamcooperf1.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/korea-overview.jpg) the photo was taken Tuesday morning at 9AM local time. That should have given them enough time to finish the tarmac in that area in time for Chandhok’s run tomorrow. That tarmac will be super sticky at this point though…

    1. If that picture was Tuesday,where are the fancy buildings that are virtually complete? This doesn’t add up.

      Also, where are the marshals stations and access routes for course vehicles, cranes, etc? The road-way access for the paddock? parking for spectators? This is not looking good.

      Also, why on earth is the pitlane on the outside of the track, with re-entry right where or right after turn-in for the first corner? Must have run out of money to do a tunnel under the track for pit exit. The entry is no better. Someone is going to get hit going in to the pits because it is right at the entry point for the final corner and requires a tighter, slower line through that corner.

  25. I don’t want to come across as defending the Korean track builders/designers, but it looks just like the plans.

    1. Is that a defense? They’d be doing something seriously wrong if it didn’t look exactly like the plans.

      1. No, but a lot of people seem to be attacking them for not getting everything ready on schedule, but I think it could be much worse.

  26. Karun Chandok on twitter, talking about the track makes me hopeful it will work pretty good.

    It is interesting that he calls the 1st half slow and technical – that made me think maybe he went around clockwise.

    But then he says “first sector good for overtaking” and “great flow, sector 2 and 3 especially”, which fits better if it goes anti-clockwise.

    Anyway, they clearly have the surface on now, so that is good, the paddock is looking good, and the pics he posted also showed that grandstand filled with people for the opening: http://twitpic.com/2l2cr2

    1. Hm, maybe not all the surface is there yet: they lost their edges :-p http://twitpic.com/2l25gw but close enough.

      I guess the asphalt is pretty fresh, and they will fill up the sides when it is settled a bit. Maybe PM can confirm if that is how it works, while I worked with both concrete and asphalt during my studies, that is a while ago now.

      1. Those strips will have grass seeds for now and if weather allows it will have grown green grass before the GP weekend, not all of the surface can be asphalt or concrete ;-)

    2. nice pictures from Karun. Looks like the Koreans are looking forward to this.

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