Chandhok drives Korean track (Pictures)

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Karun Chandhok has driven the first lap of the Korean International Circuit in a Red Bull demonstration car.

The Indian driver, on loan to the team from HRT for the event, said he thinks their car will be well-suited to the twisty track.

Chandhok said:

It’s a really interesting layout. The track’s got a good mix of corners and I think we’ll see a lot of overtaking in the first sector – there are long straights into slow hairpins. The straight after turn one and two is really long, so we may see some good slip streaming there, like in Shanghai. From turn seven onwards, there’s a fast section of flowing corners all the way back to the start-finish line – so I think the Red Bull Racing guys will be happy in sectors two and three. It’s an interesting layout.

Looking at the facilities, the garages and team buildings look pretty much finished and they’re big! I think teams will need to bring around 30% more furniture to fill them! The grandstands also look reasonably finished. The track itself needs a bit more work on the asphalt and the kerbs, but the organisers think it’s all within their time-lines and are confident that it will be ready on time. And the locations nice, we’re overlooking the sea.

There’s certainly some enthusiasm for F1 here. There are a lot of people at the event today, which wasn’t heavily publicised, and there’s a lot of media, which shows an interest. The organisers say they have sold a significant amount of tickets, so it should be a good race. It’s been great to drive the Red Bull car again and thanks to my team, HRT F1, for letting me complete this demonstration run.
Karun Chandhok

Chandhok has also written about the event on his Twitter account.

Red Bull in Korea – pictures

Image (C) Red Bull/Getty images

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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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77 comments on “Chandhok drives Korean track (Pictures)”

  1. Ha will be nice to see him in one of those next year or an STR

    1. Don’t hold your breath. Ignoring for the moment that both Red Bull and Toro Rosso are full in 2011, Chandhok isn’t nearly quick enough to deserve a seat with either team.

      1. Not sure about that… he was quicker than Bruno and Sakon (which isn’t saying much). I hope Karun gets another drive in F1 and is given a chance to show us what he can do.

        1. He was definitively not quicker than Bruno… Bruno outscored him in qualifying and ran consistently ahead of his team mate, except for the occasional mechanical failure.

          Chandhok gets a lot of sympathy because he is a nice fellow, and because he had zero practice with HRT before being thrown to the lions in the first round of the season. He did fairly well, given the circumstances, and better than Sakon. But to say he’s faster than Bruno is clearly an overstatement.

          1. Bruno Vs. Karun Qualifying 2010

            Bahrain – BS
            Australia – BS
            Malaysia – KC
            China – BS
            Spain – KC (BS started ahead thanks to 5 place gearbox penalty for KC)
            Monaco – BS
            Turkey – BS
            Canada – BS (KC Mechanical failure in Q1)
            Europe – KC

            Ok, so if we forget about Canada, then the score was BS: 5, KC 3. Which does give Senna the lead – no question, but there’s not as much in it as you’ve implied.

  2. As I said earlier today in my comment on the other Korea article from this week (with the aerial shot) after reading Chandoks twits, looking pretty good.

    It is a bit of a pity though that the pit-area seems to, once again, be concrete – if it rains there will be slip-ups.

    1. But isn’t that one of the advantages of rain on track, making it harder for those horribly good drivers to make the car go where they want it to go?

      I think the concrete is more stable and does not form holes when things are standing on it in the midday heat.

      1. I think the concrete is more stable and does not form holes when things are standing on it in the midday heat.

        I think that’s EXACTLY the reason for it.

        1. HounslowBusGarage
          4th September 2010, 20:44

          Apparently, the reason is also on-board air jacks.
          Not sure which formula permit them, but cars equipped with on board jacks tend to punch holes in tarmac pit lanes. So to combat that, pit boxes tend to be concrete – which must make them wonderfully slippery, no?

          1. Concrete is *a lot* stronger than asphalt – which itself is surprisingly weak. Asphalt doesn’t age well, which is another downside.

            I expect that the pit lane will receive a layer of asphalt, but the garage area and the pit boxes will keep the concrete

  3. It had better rain then, else this race will be more boring than Bahrain!

    And good for Chandhok getting to try a decent F1 car, he deserves a spin after all he’s had to put up with this year.

    1. I would love to see him in a Red Bull car more often, even Torro Rosso would do. Maybe Mateschitz will want to get into the Indian Market?

      1. ummm ..Red Bull is already available in India

      2. I would too, but it doesn’t look like there will be any seats available soon, and once there are isn’t Ricciardo next in line?

    2. Nah it will have the “new track” shine, It should be a good race to watch…

  4. I hope all the words about good racing that Karun said is true. Nice to see some crowds are turning on the circuit which is good for the sports. But the question is how many tickets have they sold? Will we have a situation like Turkey 2009?

    1. For a promo event thats not a bad crowd at all. Fairly promising for the race actually. If the racings good you can expect word of mouth and natural enthusiasm to grow the crowd. Probably better than Istanbul parks great white elephant does anyway.

    2. I hope all the words about good racing that Karun said is true.

      I highly doubt that Karun actually said any of those things – my guess is that he said, “I drove on the track”, and his handlers edited it a bit to fill in the blanks. Do you really think a young, hungry driver is going to talk about the pit facilities when he drives on a new track?

      “We’re overlooking the sea”? “We’ll see a lot of overtaking”? Come on – that whole quote was tailor made to address each talking point for Ecclestone, the track builders, and RBR.

      PR, start to finish. I wouldn’t be surprised if Karun doesn’t even know that he said it.

      1. @PeriSoft

        Karun ain’t that innocent. Karun’s father Vicky Chandhok and Bernie Ecclestone are close friends. Karun has had Bernie’s support all through his GP2 campaigns and into F1 too. Vicky Chandhok has said that Barnie has been like a father to his son when away from home in Europe. Karun will always verbally support anything Bernie Ecclestone does. Nothing new about it.

        1. I really don’t think I’d want to have Bernie Ecclestone as my father…

          1. Even if could mean an F1 drive?

          2. I wouldn’t mind him as my father-in-law. His daughter is *nice* ;)

    3. Karun is being paid by the track owners to promote the circuit, so you would expect nothing but nice words from him.

      Remember all the promotional videos from former and current drivers leading up to Abu Dhabi? They all turned out to be way off the mark, but again, they were being paid to promote the circuit.

      It is also difficult to judge how good this track will be from an arial shot and a layout picture.

      1. btw that is not a finished surface on the main straight.. still a lot of asphalt and concrete to be laid at that circuit.

  5. Strange to think that such a bad driver now holds the lap record for one of F1’s circuits. Not for long though.

    1. Chandhok has finished more F1 races than either of his team mates, and in races where both HRT cars have finished, he has generally finished in a better position than his team mate, Senna.

      So to claim he is “a bad driver” is a little bit harsh. Given he has only had the chance to drive the slowest car in F1, and then got dumped for what seem to be commercial reasons over performance reasons, I think he has done a good job. I’d like to see him get another either this year or next year, maybe in a better car.

      1. Exactly. I think he may well have some potential, but there’s no way of knowing if he can’t get into a decent car.

      2. Only in three races did Chandhok and Bruno finished together: Malaysia, Shanghai and Valencia. In the first and the lasd, Chandhok did finish first. Bruno finished ahead of him in China. But in Valencia, if you recall, Glock hit Bruno and pretty much ruined his race. So if you ask me, its a tie in finishes.

        In qualifying, however, Bruno outscored Chandhok 7-2.

        1. There are 9 races in which both Chandok and Senna raced. As far as I am aware they had equal cars, In those 9 races, Chandhok was classified as finishing in 7 of those races, Senna was classified as finishing in 3 races. Out of the 3 races where both drivers were classified as finishing Chandhok beat Senna 2 times. Out of all 9 races Chandok beat Senna 6 times.

          Qualifying results don’t count for much if you don’t finish the race on Sunday. Given they had equal cars, and started at the same end of the grid, the number of retirements should be somewhat equal, but they aren’t, Chandhok retired 2 times, Senna retired 6 times. Bit of a difference.

          If I was a team principle I would consider the driver who generally finishes the races to better than the driver that is a slightly faster qualifier but is more likely to retire during the race.

          1. Additionally if F1 was a time trial like rallying is than yes I’d probably agree that Senna was the better driver. But there is more to F1 than just setting fast lap times. Just ask Sebastian Vettel.

          2. Retirements should be equal….
            Yeah in a computer game!…
            Cmon, in real life, stuff goes wrong, sometimes, it may all go wrong for one car…

            Realistically, They are both competing at a similar level, which is respectably close to Klien’s FP attempts, And clearly, the car makes it rather hard to compare them…

        2. Helio, in case you hadn’t checked, qualifying earns no points, finishing positions in the race do. The only reason Bruno Senna is in a race car is because of his last name, not his talent.

    2. Give the kid a break. Colles basically took a dump on this guy after he paid money for a drive.

      1. Correction: Colin Kolles*

    3. He’ll hold it more than a year if this thing isn’t finished.

  6. This is a promotional event done for publicity purposes, done by the team which probably emphasises this sort of thing more than anyone else (Red Bull)

    But I bet there’s still no videos, let alone onboard shots which would be surely to much to ask for.

    What’s the point?

    1. Who says there won’t be any footage? There was for Webber’s run in London, so why wouldn’t there be any for this event. Not everything is fixed on the fly.

    2. I think i understood somewhere that a the FIA president and a lot of council members were also closely following how it went to confirm their desicion of doing the official final inspection onlz one month before the GP instead of the 90 days that are in the regulation.

    3. Seriously. The thing happened today. It’s the weekend. And you’re expecting more than a couple of pictures and a press release on the website after a couple of hours ?

  7. After seeing the aerial photo of the track that was taken on Aug. 30th, I’ll be surprised if they pull this one off. They haven’t even gotten the farmers off of the surrounding rice fields yet! I live here. They won’t harvest until the end of Sept. at the earliest.

    1. Are you sure, those picture were taken only on August 30?

      They would have had a hell of a job getting asphalt on the back part of the track (where there was only the foundation, no Asphalt at all, on that aerial shot) before this promotional run.

      1. That was according to that photograph’s metadata, which shouldn’t lie, so it looks like they busted their humps this week and got the asphalt finished. The main straight looks so strange with straight up dirt off the sides of the track, where there would likely normally be grass.

        1. Ah, afraid not, this is a Tilke track, that means there would normally be concrete instead of the dirt…

    2. I think the track will be ready in time.

      I’m not familiar with how things are done in Korea, but assuming they are similar to other parts of the world I would imagine, as is typical for most construction contracts there would be financial penalties that the contractor would have to pay the owner of the circuit if the works aren’t completed by the deadline. I would also imagine that if required the contractor will have crews working 24 hours a day doing whatever it takes to make sure it gets done by the deadline. At the end of the day the contractor wants to finish by the deadline else they will start to lose any profit they might make off the project.

      Although having said that I think it will be “ready in time”, I think it will be the bare minimum required to get the FIA approval to hold a race there, I don’t think it’ll be Abu Dhabi style finished.

  8. HounslowBusGarage
    4th September 2010, 13:01

    This BBC article claims the “Formula One’s governing body says “a lot of work remains to be completed” before the Yeongam venue is ready for the inaugural Korean Grand Prix.”
    This apparently comes from an FIA spokesman, who may or may not be at the circuit to watch Karun do his stuff.
    Question for Chris Yu Rhee; we are told the rainy season has delayed work. What do you think and has the rains finished yet? You could provide everyone outside Korea with non- Press Release information, how far away from the circuit are you?

    1. The circuit is about as far South of Seoul as you can get. If you look at South Korea as an upright rectangle, the track would be in the lower left corner, with Seoul just left of the top middle. It is also well off the beaten path, and as far as I know, there are only 4 major hotels near the track in the nearest city.
      My wife talked to a person inside the Korean F1 management, and he said that there would be a campsite next to the track. Well, the “camping is only going to be in the Geomam’s city administration parking lot, which I guarantee you isn’t very big.
      We just had a typhoon (hurricane) pass through that shredded a lot of the country, and it’s been raining a lot since then. I don’t see how they are going to get anything else finished unless the foundations were poured a long time ago. I used to be in commercial construction (high-rise/institutional) in the states, and also an an M.E. by education. Never mind the rain, you can’t build on any of the surrounding rice patties as they are all currently flooded with water (it’s how you grow rice), so there is no way to get proper soil compaction on any of those areas. I wonder where all of the team trailers are going to park, let alone the spectators.
      I can’t see any of the spectator grandstands in the picture, but I suspect that they have all of the concrete footings in-place. They should be able to erect those in time.
      They build things pretty fast (and loose) here, so they might be able to pull this one off, but labor problems delayed the project in May I think.
      I doubt Uncle Bernie is going to put his stamp of approval on this one. Too many things aren’t ready. There is still an asterisk on the official F1 schedule, so we’ll have to wait and see.
      As far as PR, There really hasn’t been much until this week, which doesn’t make any sense, but that’s what you get when you have a PR firm that’s never promoted a race before.
      And the obvious question everyone wants to ask since I live here, “Have I bought my tickets yet?”
      If you’re coming, check out Korea’s official tourism site:

      It has a lot of helpful info, and there is a phone number you can call to get help in almost ANY language. It’s really good.

      I pasted everything below:

      “The KTO also operates a telephone information service in the Republic of Korea, which traveling or resident U.S. citizens IN KOREA can reach by calling 1330 (02-1330 from cell phones) anywhere in the country.

      The telephone service has English speakers and is available 24 hours every day throughout the year.

      The Seoul Global Center (SGC) assists foreigners with an English-speaking help line at (02) 1688-0120.

      The SGC is open from 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. Their website is

      Need travel information when you’re in Korea? Just Call 1330!

      When you need English assistance or travel information, just dial 1330, and a bilingual operator will offer you detailed information on tourist sites, transportation, restaurants, etc.
      If you want information about areas outside of Seoul, enter the area code of that region before pressing 1330.”

      I hope this helps!

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        5th September 2010, 16:01

        Fantastic work Chris! Many thanks for the insight, I’m sure you’re right – it’s going to be a close run thing to get it all done in time.
        Please keep us all posted with whatever you learn locally.

  9. what is karun’s connection with red bull?

    1. He drove for them in a junior league or something.

      1. Is it maybe a sign that he will be with STR or RBR in the future?

        1. I doubt it, but it would be great to see him have a season in an STR.

        2. He used to be part of their young drivers programme, but was dropped. I think.

        3. Very, very unlikely.

      2. Karun was part of the Red Bull Junior Team for his GP2 seasons with Durango and iSport in 2007 and 2008. He also test drove a Red Bull F1 machine sometime then. According to Karun, Red Bull told him to go to F2 for 2009 but he refused. So he was out of the Red Bull Junior program for 2009 when he raced for Ocean in GP2.

        As someone has said above, a Toro Rosso stint would do him a world of good – a chance to prove himself. How long is Jaime Alguersuari around?

  10. What I don’t understand is how RedBull gets to do these ‘exhibitions’… remember Horner was arguing at Silverstone about the issue of Anthony Hamilton wanting McLaren’s old cars to do his ‘GP Prep’ work… he said it would never happen because despite the fact that he was asking for year-old cars, McLaren would still benefit from the running. With that in mind… how does RedBull get permission to do these runs? Even if they’re running the RB5?

    1. For the most part they don’t do these promo runs on tracks that are on the calendar. I assume that the FIA made an exception for this event because they’re as curious as we all are about the track’s state of readiness. Also, as Norm said below they’re not running the RB5, it’s the “Red Bull Showcar.” Renault does lots of these types of events as well it seems.

      1. That is correct, the car you see running there has nothing to do with the F1 car. They may have assembled it, but I would assume that the promotional events are run from the parent company to get around any testing regulations the F1 team would have to comply with.

        Red Bull Racing also wouldn’t want a driver from a competing team to be sitting in one of their cars, be it this years or last years.

  11. That car is supposed to look like an RB5 but it isn’t one. The airbox intake is different and the rear suspension is pushrod. It looks like they bodged some nose humps onto another chassis, maybe an STR? Just thought it was weird.

  12. I still see the track is without fencing and guard rails…
    Still doubting about the fact the track will be ready on time.

    Beside that I guess it is not that worth to have the opinion of a driver after a promotional event…I mean, what should he have said? “Tha track sucks, there is really a lot of work to do before hosting a formula 1 race”? After a promotional event???

    1. That’s a valid point, if F1 was not controlled by money and drivers weren’t afraid of losing their contracts we would have more genuine opinions on tracks and other stuff.

  13. Chandhok is certainly the first driver on this track, let’s just hope that he is not the last…

  14. Are there any pictures of the car actually on the track other than the pit straight?

    1. This is not a critism of the selection here, rather that I can’t seem to find any anywhere at all on the web.

  15. This track just gonna be embarrassment for South Korea. Just leave the Asian F1 circuit to Japan and Malaysia…

    1. Doesn’t Singapore draw good crowds as well?

  16. jeez – what’s wrong with the tarmac??

  17. I think we’ll see a lot of issues with the construction quality of the actual track surface in Korea. But that is just a personal opinion.

    What worries me more is the Indian GP. Has the F1 circus ever been to a country where the chances of some kind of terrorist attack on PR events or the race itself been a possibility?

    1. Britan had a terrorist attack, didn’t they?

      1. We’ve been dealing with terrorism since the 70’s as has Spain (IRA & ETA). despite what the Americans think its not a new problem.

    2. Anshumaan Tuteja
      5th September 2010, 16:18

      I am sure the Indian authorities will provide adequate security for the Indian GP and there wud nt be any attack

  18. Clockwise and anti-clockwise are both interesting.
    If it is clockwise, anti-clockwise-18th corners are quite good. The anti-clockwise-7-to-9th corners are quite sweeping fast, i think can get out in full-throttle.
    If it is anticlockwise, the 11th corner is very very great. Drivers have to use trail braking as the braking zone is so curvy – like shanghai 1st corner.

  19. I heard 14 laps were completed. Even if the car is not a real F1, surely there are a certain amount of cameras and sensors for data acquisition..? I’d expect any data collected to be shared with all the other teams in the interest of fair-play. I’d love to see in-car video from the run though.

  20. Saw a video of Karun’s laps of the circuit.

    Granted he was taking it slow and easy but it doesn’t look like a track with passing chances (Thank you again, Hermann!)
    I thought Korea had fairly hilly-mountainous areas, some elevation changes would have been welcome.

    I think it will be a rubbish track to race on, but we’ll have to see how it plays out.

  21. Would be good for him if he joined SRT as this article suggests but i dont think he will.

  22. …it is a “real” F1 Car. It is an old RB1 from 2005, with the V10 engine still fitted to it. It has the 2009 aero package installed, so it looks very close to the current car visually.

    “Championship leading Red Bull are sponsored by South Korean-based electronics giant LG and team boss Christian Horner told Reuters the car to be used was a very different specification to the V8-powered RB6.

    “It’s our running show car, not a current car,” he said. “It’s still got a V10 engine in it. Karun will be driving it as a former Red Bull junior as all our drivers and juniors all have commitments.”

    Here you can see a picture of it at Goodwood 2010, where Red Bull describe it as an RB1:

    F1 rules don’t allow extra practice sessions for cars & drivers – so being on a new F1 track which is part of the season, the RB6 wouldn’t be allowed anyway, until the official practise sessions.

  23. If its a V10 cossie, how come the car has renault instead of cosworth written on it?

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