Korean Grand Prix 2010: Preview


The unlikely has happened, F1 has hit Korea. F1 enters the unknown, and the unfinished, as the title chase hits fever pitch in far flung fields in Asia. Round 17 threatens to be one to remember, for the right or wrong reasons.

With three races to go five drivers have a mathematic possibility and a realistic chance of securing the converted Formula One 2010 crown, and as we break new ground in Asia, the forthcoming race is crucial to which driver will carry number 1 next season.

The Korean track is a feat within its self, after only being granted the appropriate licence 10 days before the first car will hit the track, and with the top layer of asphalt having only been laid 3 weeks ago the race could threaten throw up a surprise result.

The 5.621 km track has been positively reviewed by a majority of F1 drivers, but the architect, F1's designated architect, Herman Tilke has compared the current state of the circuit as a 'building site' and has admitted work will continue on the venue until Sunday.

Despite this, the championship rumbles into town with a full head of steam after Sebastian Vettel's routine victory in Japan, and he now holds joint second place with Fernando Alonso with 206 points. They both trail leader Mark Webber by 14 points however have a slight cushion two the McLaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button who trail by 14 and 17 points respectively.

It's Alonso who seemingly has the momentum going into the inugrial Korean Grand Prix after claiming three victories from the last six Grand Prix and has openly admitted his ability to pick up podiums from now until the end of the season that will win him this championship. With the added backing from Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa, Germany seems like a distance dream as Ferrari plot to take advantage of both McLaren and Red Bull have both drivers in the title hunt.

Lewis Hamilton has slipped further out of the title contention as he suffered more technical gremlins in Japan which set back his title chances further. The 2008 champion had lead the championship at the Belgium Grand Prix, but too many mistakes has cost the Englishman and he now lies 28 points behind Webber.

The resurgence of Ferrari has caught McLaren off guard and Jenson Button has suffered as much as Teammate Hamilton. Apart from his second place at Monza, Button has only graced the podium once since his last victory in China in April, and his championship cause has slipped because of this.

However, a simple DNF for any of the three title contenders above them could see both McLarens firmly back in the running, especially if the unlucky candidate is Mark Webber.

Webber holds a commanding lead at the head of the championship and has all right to look down smugly on those so far adrift. Despite his second place in Suzuka to team mate Vettel, Webber is confident he can clinch the title, providing he can beat his young team mate in just one of the remaining three races.

However it's Sebastien Vettel who is the man on top form after gaining ground on Webber, but with Red Bull stressing equal treatment for both drivers Vettel with have to fight Webber and out pace him outright to take the crown.

The Korean track throws up a number of different predictions, and it is hard to say ho will have the performance advantage. McLaren have brought a number of upgrades to hopefully compete with the already strong Red Bulls and the ever surprising Ferrari.

Further down the field there are key battles for position in the constructors' championship. Williams and Force India are fighting for sixth place in the standings and are currently covered by the mere margin of two points, as Williams look to cash in on there end of season form.

Just above this battle sit Renault and Mercedes. Renault were running in a very strong second place at Suzuka until a lose wheel cost the team what could have been a very strong result. Renault sit 43 points behind the Mercedes outfit, however Robert Kubica believes it will be too much of an ask to catch the Brackley based outfit.

Kamui Kobayashi entertained many at his home race in Suzuka with his spectacular overtakes and his Sauber team to a strong 7th and 8th place finish in Suzuka with Nick Heidfeld following his lesser experienced team mate home.

Towards the back of the grid Lotus celebrates 12th and 13th places in Japan after many DNF's ahead of them. They were followed two laps down by Timo Glock with fellow new comers Virgin. His teammate Lucas Di Grassi was unable to cash in on the amount of DNF's as he became the first, crashing on his way to the grid at 130R.

HTR are expected to keep the same driver line up as Suzuka, but keep up to date as this could change to the highest bidder at any given moment.

Unlike the previous race at Suzuka, Korea has no notable corners or sections as you would expect as it is the debut weekend for the track. However, what it lacks in history, tradition and spectacle Korea hopes to deliver a truly memorable race.