A question of grip
October 23, 2010
The Formula 1 Circus has set up its Big Top for the seventeenth round of the season at the all-new Korea International Circuit, in the Jeollanam-do province of South Korea. It is the tenth new track to feature on the Formula 1 calendar since 1999. The setting that tomorrow hosts the first ever Korean Grand Prix is so new, that not all the infrastructure is in place yet as can plainly be seen by the fact that work is still going on today. However, when it comes to the track, that’s a different matter, as it was given the all-clear after a final FIA inspection immediately after the Japanese Grand Prix.
The final layer of asphalt only went down a few days ago, which caused more than a few problems in terms of lack of grip, but from yesterday to today, the situation has improved as the track got rubbered in by the cars.
In fact, grip could play a key role in the opening dash away from the grid in tomorrow’s Grand Prix. Having qualified third fastest today, Fernando will actually start from the clean side of the track. However, after setting the sixth best time, Felipe will have to start from the side which will give less grip. That is something which is important at every circuit, but it is even more vital on a track that is so new it only felt the weight of cars on it for the first time yesterday. So everyone will be keeping a watch out for the first corner and the straight that comes shortly after the start, which is the longest on the calendar: the order at the end of the opening lap could have a few surprises in store. Let’s just hope those surprises are pleasant ones for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro.
The characteristics of the tarmac, the challenge of the fast corners, the proximity of the barriers in some sections, the threat of rain: these are all ingredients that could add even more interest to the seventeenth round of the 2010 season, with five drivers still in with a real chance of taking the title.