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Korea architect Hermann Tilke: & # 34; No problems with the asphalt & # 34;

Korean architect Hermann Tilke
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V on the racetrack up to the walls everything looks like this like on any other racetrack in the world. The construction work begins beyond the line boundary. Up to 1,000 people tinker with grandstands, billboards and access roads. Even the military was hired. Only one question is asked in the paddock: Will the asphalt hold?

The last layer of asphalt on the 5.615 meter long track was applied on race day of the Japanese GP. That was just ten days ago. The example of the GP Belgium 1985 is cited again and again, where asphalt was paved just before the race, with the result that the Grand Prix had to be stopped after Saturday practice due to the breaking up of the surface.

Tilke : No asphalt problems

Hermann Tilke, the racetrack architect, reassures all doubters: 'There will be no problems with the asphalt. Our experience tells us. It is a surface similar to that in Abu Dhabi. ' The weather has favored the hardening of the asphalt. 'Temperatures below four degrees would be bad,' explains Tilke. That need not be feared. In South Korea there is currently mild weather of up to 25 degrees.

However, Tilke qualifies: 'It will be pretty slippery. Not only because of the flux oils that fresh asphalt normally sweat out for half a year. They provide the grip Stones that are embedded in the bitumen layer. Their jagged edges generate friction, but this only comes into play when the top layer of bitumen has been planed off. Cars would have to drive on the track for this Route to drive. We don't have that time here. '

Smooth asphalt next to the ideal line

The Aachen architect fears that overtaking maneuvers in the opening race on the new asphalt could be difficult.' At the beginning it will be very smooth. Then there is a rubber layer on it that will give grip on the ideal line. Besides that, it stays smooth. '

Tilke gives two reasons why the course in the former marshland south of Mokpo was finished at the last minute.' The draining of the area took a year, longer than expected. Before, there was only rice fields and swamp here. 'In the summer, unusually heavy monsoons rained, which delayed the work for a further 36 days. You will have to put up with the fact that the track will look like a construction site at the debut of the Korean GPThe city around the start /finish area is still being planned. It should be ready in 2012. 'At the moment we're driving on a street circuit without a city,' jokes Tilke.

Formula 1 at the end of the world

In Mokpo, shipbuilding rules. The largest shipyard in the world is being built here. Organizer Joe Chung and the local government want to put this part of the world, 350 kilometers south of the capital Seoul, on the map with the help of the Grand Prix. At the moment everything seems a little bleak. Tenor in the paddock: 'We're driving here at the end of the world.'


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