Onboard video lap of Korea’s F1 track

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An onboard video of Karun Chandhok’s lap around the Korean International Circuit gives a good impression of the new F1 track – and how much work the circuit organisers still have to do before the first race there next month.

The overall impression is of a layout rather like the Hungaroring but with a couple of long straights leading to slow hairpins where overtaking might be possible. See below for the video.

The track is bordered by barriers at the beginning and end of the lap and several of the corners have blind approaches. There are several places where barriers are yet to be built and kerbing installed.

With the track very dirty Chandhok clearly got nowhere near a representative lap time.

The footage from Codemasters’ forthcoming game F1 2010 shows how the circuit is supposed to look once construction is completed:

Korea International Circuit, 2010 Korean Grand Prix

Read more: Chandhok drives Korean track (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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76 comments on “Onboard video lap of Korea’s F1 track”

  1. Is it just me or does the car betwen turns 2 and 3 look like its just pasted in game footage.

    If that even makes sense.

  2. I doubt they’re going to make it on time…

    1. Not looking good.

      Sector 1 is ok, turn 3 could have been tighter and had a wider exit. Turn 4 should be good for overtaking (the straight is just long enough to slipstream, but not too long where rev limiters will kick in). The 7-8 and 11-12-13 sequence resemble racing circuit corners.

      Interesting that they have opted for run-off areas as opposed to gravel traps, and barriers close to the track – we could get a safety car or two at this circuit.

      I just can’t believe how much work there is to be completed. Not only run-off areas, curbs, barrier but the entire track is missing a top layer of asphalt (which will be crazy slippery come race weekend)

      1. and I will leave a marker here by saying that if this race goes ahead, it will be controversial because of the surface not providing enough grip and degrading tires (3 stop?) but also drivers making little mistakes putting the power down or under braking, losing control because of the surface, and meeting a barrier.

        1. More likely the surface will just break up (hopefully not during the GP weekend, but after the winter certainly) and it will have to be reserfaced for next year.

          The barriers seem to be really close at points, probably not going for a MotoGP then. Some of those barriers look like they might be moved further away after construction of parts of the surrounding faccilities is finished.

          1. I think the part of the circuit that is made up of corners 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 1, 2 and 3 is meant to be a public road except for the weekend Formula 1 is in town, so that section would be more like a street circuit with barriers close to the track. For the rest of year the circuit is shorter using turns 3 through to 12.

          2. “More likely the surface will just break up”.

            And why is that? Do you have anything to support this statement?

          3. Laying down a layer of asphalt so soon before two dozen cars come along and tear at the circuit for three days is not exactly ideal for surface integrity. Putting the new surface through a harsh Korean winter won’t help either.

    2. Not a chance in hell of them being ready

      1. I really hope they are ready! Imagine the bad publicity if it wasn’t finished! And we will be robbed of a race and that would significantly change the Drivers and Constructors World Championship outcome. Button needs all the races he can get to have a chance at consecutive titles. But then again McLaren might welcome the slow proceedings as Karun did say it would suit the Red Bulls.

  3. I hope the event does happen, I quite like the track, it looks a bit unique and different with nice and interesting scenery, or is it just the mud and bulldozers besides the track?

    1. Looks to be mostly dirt and machineries besides the track still. On numerous of the shoots you can see how the track is just oil slick and when Karun does his first lap you can see how the car is very twitchy under power on tires not up to temp and a very oily and dirty track. Well they got tarmac down which is good since it takes up to a month for it to stop pushing oil to the top. Some blown dirt and a good rain or two hopefully will clean most of that up. Curbing? What curbing? All I seemed to see was concrete siding on the track. They got a lot to do on the curbing and run off areas.

      1. Well apparently there is still one more final layer of tarmac to go on the top…so could still be pretty oily!

        1. I was gonna say it doesn’t look like the tarmac’s all there yet, as the curbs are all higher than the tarmac where they should be flush, so this appears to just be the base layer. I hope they pull it off too, could make for an interesting race, especially since everyone will be learning the track together for the first time.

  4. Doesn’t look too inspiring to me.

    There are quite a few off camber corners like in Abu Dhabi, which will make it tricky and induce mistakes on worn tyres.

    For some reason the concrete walls and fencing worries me a bit, I know it’s the same at valencia, but there is is going to be a safety car or two during the race – That’s if there is one!

  5. Watching Chandhok’s onboard video I would say that the actual track will be ready on time. It basically looks like there are some barriers to install at marshall points, turf to lay on the verges, pavement to the runoff areas, kerbs to paint, and pavement marking, and there is still a month and a bit until the race. Assuming the FIA gives the final tick off I think there’ll be a race. The FOM camera men might not be able use their normal long sweeping shots of the circuit this year, and spectator facilities might be lacking, but there’ll be a race. By next year the place should be looking pretty good.

    As for the track I like the long straights, and I think some of the corners on the back end will be good when cars are hitting them at full speed.

    As for the Codemasters version of the track, it looks pretty awesome. I wonder if they sourced the 3d design models straight from Tilke GmbH to create the model in the game? I like how they have tower cranes for the future city that will be under construction over the next couple of years.

    1. The toplayer of asphalt still has to be laid, so that might make the raceing a bit more difficult come GP weekend.

      About the game, shouldn’t Codemasters actually change that track in the game to suit this years GP? ditch the grass, most of the grandstands and surrounding buildings and add bulldozers and cranes to make it look even more real?

  6. Very interesting. Thanks, Keith.

    Watching the video, it looks like there is a lot of travel in the front suspension, at least by F1 standards. With all of the delays and rush job, it wouldn’t surprise me if perhaps the usual care had not been taken, and the track surface is unusually bumpy for new asphalt. Of course, it also could just be an incredibly soft setup or just an illusion created by a grainy YouTube video.

    Also, does anyone know why the teams always use tires that appear to be full wets for these demo runs? I’ve always assumed that it is because there must be unused piles of those things laying around, and it was cheaper than burning up a pair of new slicks.

    1. Good question on the tires. Hit me as well why the full wet looking tires? Or are these some kind of normal road tire that they use?

      1. Think theyre all-purpose tyres used on the RB show car, think they were the same during Jaime’s photoshoot in the dominican republic. Guess the unfinished track surface is unsuitable for true F1 tyres.

        1. As this was this years Red Bull car they can’t use any kind of tyres you can race on for this kind of runs…

          1. It’s not the RB6, it’s the Red Bull show car, which is totally different. Take a look at its nose for starters…

          2. The show car is a RB1 but made to look like a newer model car as much as possible. Hence nose and air intake behind drivers head for example is different but the core is a RB1 not a RB6. If they used the RB6 no matter what tires it would have to be counted as one of their media days or similar (which everyone use known tracks for). But to run a show car they can do as much they want because it’s not this years model. Why you think Schu was preparing for his failed first F1 comeback in a 08 car and not a 09? Because regulations are pretty strict what they can and can not do.

        2. It’s not about the track being suitable, but about Bridgestone delivering special tyres for PR events like this.
          The rules don’t allow for running actual racing tyres outside of official test sessions / race meetings.

      2. They look more like tractor tyres to me ;-) very suitable for a construction site!

        It looks like they will have some sort of track because even though they still have the running surface to lay and the markings that is only 2 to 3 weeks work….. but the rest! it looks months off, Bernie’s joke of tents is not looking much of a joke. I’m also astonished by how few workers appear to be there, given the urgency of completion I would have expected to see loads of them rather than few scattered around.

        1. Actually i think the workers were sent of for the day to have the PR event (Red Bull crew, FOM, minister of sport, local politicians and a couple of thousend of fans).

          All construction equipment is parked right next to the track, so who knows maybe the workers get out of hiding directly after the event to finish the track ;-)

    2. Access to F1 and GP2 tires are controlled so that no team gains an advantage with testing, etc.

  7. May be the organizers thought of giving the track a unique feature, a characterizing peculiarity: it will be the first f1 track with mud and buldozer around!!!

    Hope they succeeds, some unusefully sharped curves but it seems interesting.

  8. It was a bit of a pity that Chandok had to drive on eggs at the 1st corner and some later corners (4, 11, 12 etc) because there was no finished run-off etc., but I do like the feel of the track – that last corner though is a bit too large radius, most cars will just treat the 2nd half of the corner as the start of the straight, and Red Bulls won’t have to fear being overtaken easily there as they can get through the 1st part of it so much faster. Corner 11 looked interesting, and 12 after that is really rather tight, might catch some guys out.

    1. I actually like that last corner. It’ll make that corner crucial to getting a perfect run into the pit straight if you want to overtake the guy in front of you. Better than many of the new straights we have nowadays with a hairpin entrance and exit…

      1. I love 11 into 12 (I think) the really long corner then a quick change of direction straight after – should be excellent to see two cars go through there quickly together.

  9. For however dull or not the track might be, nice to hear a V10 engine being driven around a track in comparative anger again…

    1. Awesome sound indeed.
      V8 engines sound terrible in comparison.

      1. ishaggedcarlabruni
        8th September 2010, 2:30

        If you think V8s sound bad, you have to wonder what 1.6L turbos are going to sound like.

        Ahh… the days when we had a grid that included V8s V10s and V12s. (1989)

  10. Yep, that’s a nice sounding engine in that car.

    I think the track’ll be finished in time. The scenery won’t be very interesting but hey, it’s a start. As long as they can get the track surface and run-off done and concentrate on the event administration and the main infrastructure of the track I think it’ll be good to go this year and they can get it all lovely and pristine next year.

    1. Chris Yu Rhee
      7th September 2010, 7:13

      After watching the Red Bull PR laps, I think the track could be ready in time, but the surrounding support areas-parking, crew, etc.- really concern me. I also agree that unless they get the final layer of asphalt down soon, it’ll be too oily. It rains a lot here in September, so hopefully that will help.
      Did anyone see evidence of the spectator grandstands? I only saw it in a few corners.

  11. Bit of a side note, but I’d recommend you watch the F1 2010 video then select the YouTube ‘F1 2010 – The Story of Formula 1 Video Games’. Absolutely awesome! Memories :)

  12. I like the first sector, but I’m not so keen on the constant left-right-left-right-left characteristics of sectors 2 and 3.

    Korea seem to be building this track under the same principle I do things, leave it to the absolute last minute!

  13. If I hate anything in F1, it’s the sound of an F1 engine accelerating for under 2 seconds before hearing the gearbox downshifting.

    I realise Karun was going slow, but I think a lot of Sector 2 will be dangerously close to making that horrible 2 seconds of sound.

    The final turn looks a lot better than I thought it would, though. And if it’s true about the off-camber corners, that’ll be something different at least.

  14. I don’t like it… (so far)

  15. What I did notice in the video – rain! Could be another rain effected venue!

    1. Chandhok said it was really wet and humid, and he thinks there might be some rain at the GP.

  16. In my opinion they should just leave it like it is. That would make an interesting Grand Prix wouldn’t it……

  17. I think the thing I like the most about this circuit is that it actually has scenery around it. Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Shangahi are all lacking in anything on the horizon, but here we’ve got a mountain and some trees, and best of all, it’s all green!

    1. I agree. I like the little hill on the approach to turn 2. Athough if the Codemasters model is close to accurate then it looks this hill will be cut out and replaced by grand stands.

      1. I agree, I liked the hills we could see – to be honest, that codemasters model had an incredible amount of grandstands, I wasn’t sure they could all be filled other than by a computer!

  18. Track looks incredibly boring to me.

    The most exciting thing about that video was the sound of that V10. SO MUCH BETTER.

  19. What a shocker, lovely scenery yes, that would be there no matter what the design – but Tilke gets his hands on another track and what does he do, his limited imagination comes up with a cross between hungary and hokenheim. I mean if I was given the enormous responsibility – and honour of designing a track for F1 competition I’d want to create something completely new that drivers and spectators regard as a classic with corers that they cant wait to throw a car around. Not an embarrassing snorefest. Tilke = straight, hairpin, straight hairpin a couple of twisty slow bits, minor camber, 1 decent corner.

    Even us mug punters who will never drive a real f1 car know from playing the vid simulations that tracks like spa, silverstone, suzuka, monza, melbourne and monaco are more interesting than malaysia, china, valencia istanbul ect. They may have dull bits but for one thing you know where you are on them and they have individual characteristics. Tilke should accept a large portion of blame for when F1 is dull and races don’t draw crowds and viewers. Sack him, start again.

    1. i’m getting a bit tired of the constant criticism of tilke. i’m sure he’s doing the best he can under the strict regulations that govern track design.

      “straight, hairpin, straight hairpin a couple of twisty slow bits, minor camber, 1 decent corner”

      So by that assessment you don’t like many tracks then? as has been said many times, not all tracks can be super fast. there needs to be a mix.

      1. Quote: ” i’m sure he’s doing the best he can…”. If thats the best he can do… then i dont get it how do they keep on giving him the jobs. Those circuits have no soul. The only “strict regulations” are his own creative limitations.

        sorry for replying but its a real shame i think. Someone up there do something, he wont stop…

        1. pehaps i’m just not a cynical. i just find it hard to believe that if he had all the freedom in the world he’d make the tracks he has.

          obviously traditional tracks like spa, silverstone and monaco are going to be favoured by most fans, but i think the soul of these tracks is just as much down to the history and prestige of racing there as it is to the track layout.

          it’s difficult to introduce a track to a country where perhaps the strong motor racing background isn’t present. moreso, it’s hard to make a new track that features the same unique layouts of suzuka and spa and so on. perhaps peoples’ expectations are too high given how awesome tracks like that are.

          finally, i just think we should wait til race day (if we actually get there) before passing final judgement.

          “sorry for replying” – why? that’s the purpose of this website, right? i should be saying thank you for replying.

          1. About “the same unique layouts”: that is the whole point, isn’t it, that they are unique. In Austin Tilke has incorporated corners that closely mimic some of the interesting corner bits from other tracks, and he is said to be a copycat. Yeah.

            It probably isn’t so easy to make a unique new circuit, with great overtaking, not using inspiration from existing corners, not making it too fiddly, stay within the plot allocated, and within the rules so that big elevation changes tend to become impossible.

            I don’t know, I wish he would cut out the left-right-left 90degree turn combinations a bit, but he does need to get the length, and things like Singapore can’t help being blocky. Still, Abu Dhabi was a letdown, he should have been able to do more than just the “great hill and turns” 2 and 3, instead of having the under-track pit tunnel, for example.

          2. i generally agree. What i say is not specific to this circuit and i think the circuit in Texas looks awesome, but i believe most tracks are lacking that … something (something that really should ‘be’ that circuit).

    2. I mean if I was given the enormous responsibility – and honour of designing a track for F1 competition I’d want to create something completely new that drivers and spectators regard as a classic with corers that they cant wait to throw a car around.

      FAr easier said than done. You don’t just draw a line on a piece of papaer and say “Here’s your circuit!”

      The sheer fact that you think Sepang and Istanbul are bland and soulless despite multiple elevation changes and demanding corners just shows how unqualified you are for the job. Stop talking about designing circuits like it’s some great honour and start thinking about how you’d juggle a piece of land that has been chosen for you, rules that you must stick to above all else, and a budget that you have to work with.

      1. Hey folks, I’m not applying for the job of track designer, or saying that I would do a better job – but I do believe designing tracks seems like a pretty sweet little job to have so I’ll consider your job offers carefully….As for Istanbul and Sepang they obviously have a couple of notable corners on each, (particularly sepangs layout, point taken I’m being a bit harsh there), but these corners just point to what can be achieved even with the restrictions.
        Every year I look forward to particular races with relish, Spa, Silverstone, Suzuka – becuase they have great corner sequences. Perhaps the biggest problem is that as with any monopoly, having one preferred track designer results in less variety. Also why shouldn’t I want more exciting tracks with differentiated corners? I’m a viewer, don’t serve up a reheated rubbish dish, or an average one at best and tell me I should bow down and genuflect before it just because its F1.

  20. I think Adrian Newey got to design sector 2. Boring but perfect for his cars. I thought it would have the unfolding wonder of the Suzuka esses, but these just remind me of my local kart track, complete with the cones. I still dont understand what Tilke is thinking with the pit exit. It seems incredibly dangerous.

  21. Charles Carroll
    7th September 2010, 1:35

    It reminds me of a rabbit taking a dump.

  22. With all respect for the designer, this track is horrible. 3 straights, 3 hairpins and a bunch of slow turns.

  23. I like it, I hope it’s still somewhat dusty when they race, and also that it is indeed bumpy as it appears….

    I might have to start taking back my attacks on Tilke…

    I just hope that when polished up, it’s doesn’t start to look more like Valencia, and less like in the video.

    1. yeh, true. boring barriers, fences, and, well, not much else. it’s good to have some barriers missing so you can actually see the scenery. i think that’s one of the reasons i love spa so much.

      1. i should rephrase that. i like the scenery of spa, not a ‘lack of barriers’.

  24. Well, It’s safe to say that HRT will be putting Karun in the car for Korea, replacing Senna. Yamamoto will be driving the remaining races this season according to HRT.
    Too bad…… :-(
    The track itself?! I don’t know…..we’ll have to wait and see.

    1. Because Karun has walked around the track?

      1. No, because he did like 14 laps around the track in the Red Bull car.

  25. What’s he doing in that car ?

  26. I like the track…we will only really know how good it is in a month so. What I do find strange, given you can have a boring race at the so called “great tracks” and great races at the “not so great tracks” that people are willing to write it off so easily…

  27. I can’t believe this is in Korea and the track has so little elevation changes.With property such a valued commodity I would have expected this development to be on a “marginalized” plot with severe elevation changes.

    Too bad.

  28. Great track , this is going to be interesting , nice enjoyable track with challenging curves and interesting and fast transistions .

  29. I wonder if Red Bull might have a whole lot of data of the track to analyse now….
    Forget it….I want them to win anyway….

  30. I really hope force india do well on this track it could suit them quite well its a great track challenging curves and its going to be exciting

  31. Looks great, I always look forward to an inagural race.

  32. First off, the Korean race failed to be ready for its race date TWICE (!) back in Champ Car days. This feels like deja vu, although this is further along than the Ansan circuit ever was trying to meet its obligations.

    Secondly, the track seems quite boring to me. But I’ll withhold judgment there, because it was only one car doing a slow lap.

    They have a LOT of work to do. They might hold a race there, but the facility will be _far_ from done.


  33. turnes, turnes, turnes, inspired by Monaco?

  34. A good friend of mine, a native of Seoul, insists that with typical hard-working Korean labour the track will be completed on time. To quote; ‘they [the track construction staff] will work 24 hours a day. This is a matter of national pride.’

  35. How come H. Tilke gets to design practically all new F1 tracks?Isn’t there any other track designer in the world?He surely cannot be the best…I mean look at Valencia {yawn}…

  36. You made various nice points there. I did a search on the subject and found most people will go along with with your blog.

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