Here is my Korean Grand Prix preview I wrote for Final Sector, please click on the logo to see the full ezine.
It was no surprise to anyone to see Sebastian Vettel crowned as World Champion in Japan last weekend and with his Red Bull team only needing to match the points haul of McLaren this weekend, we should see the constructors title sewn up with time to spare.
The F1 circus makes its second visit to the Yeongram circuit in South Korea. The inaugural race last year caused controversy in the run up to the event after questions were raised on whether all construction work would be completed on time. After eventually getting the go ahead and with the smell of drying paint in the air, the organisers celebrated a successful event. Seeing the new circuit was difficult to say the least last year due to the torrential rain which saw the dace delayed and started under the safety car for the first 17 laps.
It’s a good thing that Mark Webber is a F1 driver and not a space shuttle commander. No one has suffered more launch problems this year than the Aussie, losing positions off the start in a staggering 11 out of 15 races this year. The chances of NASA getting any payload into space with him at the helm would be slim, at best, with his problems this year. Webber, on paper should be comfortably second in the standings but it is McLarens, Jenson Button who now looks odds on favourite to be crowned best of the rest after another flawless drive to win the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend. Again in stark contrast, his team-mate, Hamilton has to pick himself up and dust himself down after another less than convincing race and another incident with Massa.
Ferrari and Alonso are still targeting another race victory before the year is out. The Spaniard looked quiet aloof on the podium in Japan after coming in second. He didn’t seem to want to join the celebrations with race winner, Button, and newly crowned World Champion Vettel. Whether this was because he felt like this was a race he could have won, I can only speculate.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg is hoping to see his team’s up turn in pace from Suzuka carried forward to Korea, Rosberg didn’t get much of a race last year after being collected by the spinning Webber shortly after the safety car had pitted. “I’m looking forward to racing in Korea: I really enjoy the track and, for the first race last year, it was certainly a full house spectator-wise. I’m certainly aiming for a more successful weekend than last year, when I was taken out in an accident with Webber on the second lap at racing speeds after the safety car came in. We learned in Japan that our performance has taken a small step forward since Singapore. I hope we can make the next one this weekend.”
Marussia Virgin announced at Suzuka that their 2012 car will not be fitted the KERS system which has again raised doubts over the owners commitment to F1. MVR once again sit at the foot of the constructors standings behind HRT and only a race of high attrition ahead of them is the only likely way they would get the 15th place finish they need to overtake their Spanish rivals.
Pirelli will supply the teams with the Soft (yellow) and Supersoft (red) tyres for the race. Pirelli’s motorsport’s director, Paul Hembery said, “Our choice for Korea is the P Zero Yellow soft tyre and the P Zero Red Supersoft. This is a choice that we have nominated for the tight and twisty street circuits so far this year, most recently in Singapore. Korea is a semi-permanent venue, with characteristics that we believe should be well-suited to these two tyres. We’ve seen in the past that the extra performance of the supersoft tyres in particular gives teams plenty of opportunities to come up with some interesting strategies, which often leads to a close finish.”