A lot has already been said and written about the GP Korea without the Formula 1 drivers too just turned one lap. Against all prophecies of doom, the Koreans finally got the new track finished enough for a Grand Prix to be held here - at least in theory. The teams will only find out where there are still problems in practice.
It is already clear that there will be no nice TV pictures from the GP Korea. Instead of lush greenery and modern architecture, there is a dreary building site flair away from the slopes. The drivers shouldn't care about the ambience. The five title contenders now have to concentrate fully on the World Cup final spurt.
In the third last race of the Formula 1 season, every small mistake can lead to a preliminary decision. Only front runner Mark Webber can allow himself a little mistake thanks to his 14 point cushion on Red Bull colleague Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso. For the McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, however, the World Cup dream after the Korean GP could already be over if it goes very stupidly.
Maybe in the end it will also be very stupid for everyone. The asphalt is still a headache for the organizers. The top road surface was only laid two weeks ago - closer to a race than ever before. Can the fresh piste withstand the hard braking and acceleration maneuvers of the 750 hp Formula 1 racing cars? Are waves forming? Does the tar still evaporate oils? The drivers will only receive answers to these questions after Friday practice.
So far, the 24 Formula 1 drivers only know the Korean International Circuit from the simulator. The 5.5621 kilometer long track designed by the German F1 architect Hermann Tilke has a varied layout. The beginning of the lap is dominated by three longer straights. At 1.2 kilometers, the back straight is actually the longest in the entire calendar. Here the simulation calculates with top speeds of up to 320 km /h ..
In the middle section of the route it becomes significantly slower. Many narrow and angular hairpin bends destroy the rhythm. Only in the last third of the lap does it get a little more fluid again. In the faster corners, Red Bull has to make up for the time that you lose on the straight on McLaren. Unlike most of the othersAt the GP Korea, the drivers drive routes counterclockwise.
In the past few weeks, the simulation computers in the teams' offices have been running at full speed. Above-average tire wear, high downforce levels (8/10), low braking loads and an average speed of 197 km /h were the result of the computers. However, the engineers cannot prepare for every detail. Bumps, asphalt conditions, wind ... many factors that only become apparent in the practical test on the route can influence the result.
In free practice for the GP Korea, the teams have to create the basis for a good race weekend. It's about finding all the important information so as not to be nastily surprised in qualifying and the race. It is to be expected that the Korean Formula 1 fans will see a lot of activity on the track when the drivers start looking for a good setup.
Three Before the end of the season, all teams have already shifted their development resources to the car for 2011. Only slight modifications of the previous parts are planned for the season finale. Red Bull brought its last major update in Japan. McLaren was also in Suzuka with a completely new rear end. After Lewis Hamilton's training crash and the heavy rain, the new parts had to be dismantled again before race Sunday. At the GP Korea, Hamilton and Button are now hoping for a big jump with the modified updates.
Excitement is guaranteed at the GP Korea. When the new parts finally work at McLaren, Hamilton and Button have to be listed at the top of the favorites. The MP4-25 can show its top speed advantage on the long straights. Red Bull has to try to catch up the time on the winding sections. Precise forecasts can only be made after Friday training.
In the midfield, Williams has recently shown a significantly improved performance. Especially in qualifying it was regularly in the top ten. Sauber should also have a good chance of scoring points on the new, smooth asphalt. For Force India, however, it will be difficult again. The last races were not exactly cause for optimism and driver Adrian Sutil does not expect much improvement in Korea. There is more tension in the duel of the Silver Arrows. Nico Rosberg lost the duel in Japan against teammate Michael Schumacher. Can the old master continue the upward trend on the new route for all pilots?
Expert opinion on GP Korea: James Key (Technical Manager Sauber)
'All preparations for the new course are based on the information We can carry out initial simulations and make assumptions, but ultimately predictions remain difficult. We have CAD data from which we can derive an ideal line and use it for our simulation. We employus with different levels of downforce and grip, braking stress and, to a certain extent, with mechanical set-up and ground clearance. '
' But of course that remains very general because we don't know what bumps there are how grippy the asphalt is, how much tire wear, whether the driver chooses a different line, etc. You can't prepare for these unknowns, but you have to make sure that you can deal with many different scenarios. For other circuits that were new to the calendar, we had data from other racing series, but that's not the case here. It is up to the teams and drivers to learn quickly and react as best as possible in order to optimize the car. It'll be a nice challenge. '
' The circuit looks very interesting: three straights with hard braking maneuvers at the end and a very winding route for the second half of the lap. It looks like a technical course and one for which you have to find a compromise on downforce levels. Apparently we're dealing with a high-downforce track that has tighter sections towards the end of the lap. It will be an exciting weekend for everyone and we look forward to our first visit to Korea. '