Ecclestone now admits Korea situation 'not good' UPDATE (GMM) Race organizers hit back on Monday amid widespread reports the inaugural Korean grand prix was in real danger of being called off.
F1 teams, media and personnel are concerned that - despite FIA rules requiring a final track inspection 90 days before a new event - the uncertainty about Korea is still growing just three weeks before they are due to fly to the east Asian nation.
The final inspection deadline is becoming farcical, with a Korean official now confirming that it will take place on October 11 -- after much of the sport's freight has left Suzuka.
There is also the issue of the world championship, with the title protagonists not really sure if there are 3 or 4 contests still to run.
"We will have no problem in hosting the race on October 24 as we have almost completed work," a spokesman for organizer KAVO is quoted in a Sapa/AFP wire report on Monday.
He insisted that the track will be ready by Charlie Whiting's October 11 inspection.
"We will rush to complete work and FIA officials will see a complete circuit when they conduct a final inspection in two weeks," he said.
The fears about cancellation of the race was ramped up by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who on Sunday admitted for the first time that he is concerned about the situation.
|Ecclestone (right) with Christian Horner in Singapore this weekend where he made his remarks|
"We take Ecclestone's remarks seriously as a message that we have to step up preparations for the race," said the spokesman.09/26/10 (GMM) Despite rubbishing the paddock rumors only hours earlier, Bernie Ecclestone has now admitted he is concerned the inaugural Korean grand prix might not take place next month.
Earlier in Singapore, the F1 chief executive said he and the FIA were "happy" with the Yeongam circuit, despite it not yet passing its final inspection that was originally due to take place weeks ago.
"It's not good. It should have been inspected maybe six weeks ago," he told BBC pundit Eddie Jordan during an interview on Sunday.
"It was inspected but it wasn't passed," added the Briton.
Ecclestone admitted that delaying the inspection so late - with it now set to take place after the forthcoming Japanese grand prix - was unusual for a new circuit.
The post-Suzuka inspection means F1's freight will already be en route to Korea, while the travelling circus will have needed to book air fares and hotels.
"It's quite dangerous what we've done actually but it's a case of 'do we cancel the race or not?' They say it's all going to be OK, so we hope they are right," Ecclestone said.
In another interview on Sunday, Ecclestone told the Associated Press F1 will be "lucky" to avoid turning into a three-race dash to the Abu Dhabi finale.
"Until it's on there's always concerns, obviously," he said when asked about Korea.
"We have to get lucky and hope it will happen."