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Page last updated at 02:44 GMT, Saturday, 23 October 2010 03:44 UK

F1 drivers criticise 'dangerous' new Korea track

Mark Webber

Highlights - Webber fastest in second practice

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Yeongam

Formula 1 drivers have criticised the new Korean Grand Prix track, claiming the pit-lane entry is dangerous.

The pit entry is on the exit of a blind 150mph corner and drivers are worried about the speed difference between cars racing and those coming into the pits.

Lotus's Jarno Trulli said the drivers would raise the subject with race director Charlie Whiting, adding: "It's very dangerous. It is a big issue."

Renault's Robert Kubica said: "It might be quite tight if someone's pitting."

Trulli, who has been racing in F1 since 1997 and won the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix, also said the layout of the pit exit and first corner could be improved, and criticised the fact that drivers had not been consulted on the design before the race meeting.

"They don't even ask us anything about circuit layout," he said. "Nothing."

He added: "I had problems because I was twice stuck in gear.

I knew they would finish it properly which is what they have done - people are too quick to criticise

Bernie Ecclestone

"While I was fine to make it back I was so slow that I had to look after myself when I was getting in. In this longer, blind right-hand corner I had to stay right in the racing line and I was so slow that I was wondering if someone might hit me in the back.

"This is a big issue in my opinion. There is no other option, it is right on the racing line, and the racing line is right on the far right-hand side facing the wall."

Trulli's concerns were echoed by other drivers, including Kubica, championship leader Mark Webber and world champion Jenson Button.

Kubica said: "If someone is pitting, you have to take a tighter line then it might be a bit dangerous if you are really close. It might be quite tight."

The track construction was delayed by two months of wet weather, and the circuit was finished only two weeks ago and passed fit for racing on 12 October.

I was quite surprised by the track layout - it is 10 times better than Abu Dhabi

Robert Kubica

Following the complaints, changes were made overnight at Turns 16 and 18 and the rules were changed concerning the pit-lane entry and exit.

Drivers have been told they can ignore the usual requirement to stay within a white line painted on the track as they come into the pits, and instead can cut in from the racing line to avoid the danger of slowing cars.

At the pit-lane exit, they can ignore the white line to avoid the dusty track off line.

At Turn 16, a wall that was sticking out on the outside of the corner has been moved back, and there and at Turn 18 kerbs have been filled in to discourage drivers from cutting the corners.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone defended the organisers.

"The whole world said it wasn't going to happen, and I went out on a limb and said it would because I knew they would finish it properly which is what they have done," Ecclestone told BBC 5 live.

"People are too quick to criticise and there's so many other places we have been and they haven't criticised.

"It rained continuously for 51 days, so that put them 51 days back but they have worked through that and they have managed to catch up."

The drivers gave the layout of the track a mixed reception.

Kubica said: "The first few corners are quite boring. After Turn Nine there is quite a lot of action going on and Turn Nine, 10 is quite nice and also 11, 12, and from there it's quite a nice track.

"The last corner is quite challenging. It's quite blind.

"I was quite surprised by the track layout - it is 10 times better than Abu Dhabi (which made its debut in 2009)."

SARAH HOLT'S BLOG

World champion Jenson Button added: "I'm enjoying the circuit and felt we got to grips with it pretty quickly. The track feels quite flowing.

"There was a lot of dust which is the only problem. If you put a wheel slightly off line there is a huge amount of dust which might be a problem during the race."

Sauber's Nick Heidfeld said: "It's great fun. Yesterday when I walked the track I thought it would be nice but driving it was even better.

"I think they did a good job and I found it very challenging especially the end of the sector. I enjoyed it a lot."

Nico Rosberg

Mercedes driver Rosberg talks around a lap of Korea track



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see also
Webber heads rivals in practice
22 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso tips Hamilton as favourite
22 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
I am staying at Ferrari - Massa
22 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Korean GP practice as it happened
22 Oct 10 |  Formula 1


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