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F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone worries for Korean Grand Prix

Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone

Ecclestone admits to Korean GP concerns

Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has expressed doubts over whether October's Korean Grand Prix will go ahead.

Ecclestone hopes the race will happen but says concerns will remain until the Yeongam track passes an FIA inspection.

"It's not good. It should have been inspected six weeks ago," he told BBC Sport at Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.

A Korean race official admitted they were taking Ecclestone's remarks "seriously" but they would be ready to host the race as scheduled.

"We will have no problem in hosting the race on October 24 as we have almost completed work," revealed Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO) spokesman Kim Jae-Ho.

The Korean International Circuit, which has still to be completed, was initially scheduled for an inspection on 21 September, but that was a public holiday in Korea.

I actually think he's just giving a few people there a serious hurry-up and a warning.

Martin Brundle

FIA press officer Alexandra Schieren said the new inspection, by FIA race director Charlie Whiting, would take place on 11 October.

"We will rush to complete work and FIA officials will see a complete circuit when they conduct a final inspection in two weeks," said Kim.

"We take Ecclestone's remarks seriously as a message that we have to step up preparations for the race."

Ecclestone had expressed doubts that the race would go ahead.

"We normally have a 90-day check before a race and now we are sort of putting this off," he stated.

"What we've done is quite dangerous. It's a question of do we cancel the race or not? They say everything will be OK - we have to hope they're right."

BBC F1 analyst Martin Brundle believes Ecclestone's comments are intended as a warning to KAVO.

"It's very unusual for Bernie to send a message like that unless he wants to get a message out [to Korea]. It was very powerful," explained Brundle.

"I actually think he's just giving a few people there a serious hurry-up and a warning.

"I think we will be going to the race, because it would have a massive impact on the championship if there are only three rounds remaining instead of four.


"Whether the alternative would be to try to put another race on or we could have a double-header at one of the existing venues remains to be seen."

In addition, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told BBC Sport: "I think they'll get it done. They're pretty committed and I think the race will happen.

F1 cars are scheduled to take to the track for practice on Friday 22 October, qualifying a day later and the race on Sunday 24 October.

The Korean circuit is the only new venue on the F1 calendar this season and has been designed by Hermann Tilke, the man behind the layouts of the new tracks in Malaysia, China, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

The next race is in Japan on 10 October, followed by Korea, Brazil (on 7 November) and finally Abu Dhabi (on 14 November).

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso's victory in Singapore at the weekend means he now trails Red Bull's Mark Webber by 11 points in the drivers' championship, with Lewis Hamilton of McLaren nine points further adrift in third.

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see also
Chandhok impressed by Korea track
04 Sep 10 |  Formula 1
Korea GP venue 'in need of work'
03 Sep 10 |  Formula 1
Korea insists track will be ready
12 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
South Korea to make 2010 F1 debut
21 Sep 09 |  Formula 1

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ESPN Star Doubts hover over Korean GP - 2 hrs ago
Sky Sports Jury still out on Singapore's future - 3 hrs ago F1: Korea insists F1 track will be ready for inspection, teams concerned about grand prix - 5 hrs ago
Telegraph Korea GP doubts cause concern - 5 hrs ago
Irish Independent In Brief: South Korea allay track safety fears - 5 hrs ago