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DATE News (chronologically)
09/03/10
f1
Doubts persist about October's Korea GP  UPDATE #5 (GMM)  According to the International Sporting Code, F1's governing body should already have approved or rejected the new South Korea circuit ahead of its inaugural grand prix.

Instead, the venue has been given until September 21 to prepare for Charlie Whiting's final inspection, with a FIA spokesman admitting "a lot of work remains to be completed" at the Yeongam site, according to the Telegraph.

Proposed South Korea F1 track
Appendix O of the Code says the final inspection for a permanent venue should take place "not later than 90 days before the first international event to be held" there.

If adhered to, Korea's final inspection should have taken place at the end of July, given its late October race date.

And if a circuit fails its final inspection, the sporting regulations state that the event "will not be considered for inclusion in the following year's championship unless the FIA judges the cancellation to have been due to force majeure".

Countering ongoing speculation about the state of the site, race organizers have released some photos showing completed buildings and an apparently freshly-laid track surface.

But other, unofficial photos recently did the rounds showing that aspects of the venue are far from complete.

However, the Telegraph's Tom Cary said the FIA is "satisfied" with progress.

Indian driver Karun Chandhok is currently on his way to the east Asian state, where on Saturday he is scheduled to drive Red Bull's demo car around the circuit.

Event organizers KAVO insist the venue is "90 per cent" complete.

08/29/10 (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone insists he is confident Korea will be ready to host its inaugural formula one race in October. Envoys from some teams recently visited the Yeongam site, and were dismayed to find that the track asphalt has not yet been laid, while trackside buildings were not even close to being finished.

"What concerned me most was that in the photos I saw, there were very few people working," Eddie Jordan is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

The track is due to open next weekend, and Red Bull is sending a demonstration car for Karun Chandhok to drive.

"If there is no asphalt, it might be a short demonstration," smiled team boss Christian Horner.

However, it was rumored late on Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps that the track surface in Korea is now being laid, and some insiders believe there is time for it to correctly dry and cure. When asked about the event, F1 chief executive Ecclestone answered ambiguously: "It is still on the calendar."

Asked if he would bet on the Korean GP taking place on October 24, he added: "Yes, I would.  They will get it done somehow." And Ecclestone played down rumors that, to preserve the 19-race nature of the 2010 title chase, another circuit will be drafted in should Korea not be ready. He said: "Tell me the name of the (replacement) place and who's paying for it." zzzz

08/26/10 This rumor may go to 'false' soon.  Karun Chandhok will complete the first lap of the Korean International Circuit in an F1 car, driving a Red Bull on September 4.  He will take to the track in the team's running show car at the Circuit Run 2010 event, set to be held in front of 3,000 spectators. It will be the first time an F1 car has run on the new circuit ahead of the inaugural race on October 24.

"Red Bull Racing and I know each other from my days on the junior program," said Chandhok. "The team's regular drivers weren't available due to other commitments, so I was happy to fill in.

"It'll be a real honor to be one of the first people to drive around the new Korean circuit. The layout looks quite good fun on paper and I look forward to driving a winning team's car there next weekend."

08/24/10 (GMM)  The reason for the delay of inaugural races at Korea's new formula one circuit has become clear.

Late August at the new venue was originally scheduled to host the Asian Festival of Speed, with Asian GT and junior single seaters on the bill.

That event has now been rescheduled for late September, with the stated reason for the delay being construction holdups "caused by bad weather".

The grand prix organizers said the 5.62 kilometer circuit will now open officially on September 5, with the F1 race still scheduled for late October.

The September opening is the end of next week, but photographs doing the rounds in the Spanish press indicate that it might be an ambitious target.

A photograph published by the sports newspaper AS's website purportedly depicts the circuit one week ago.

The track surface is not asphalted, nor delineated with barriers or fences and some structures are apparently only in the formative stages of construction.

08/12/10 (GMM)  Talks between Bernie Ecclestone and the Spanish venue known as Motorland Aragon reportedly took place about a potential vacancy on the 2010 calendar.

Spanish reports last week said the Hermann Tilke-penned circuit is a potential replacement venue for the October 22-24 date on this year's calendar.

Korea's similarly Tilke-designed track has been dogged by persistent speculation about its readiness to host an inaugural grand prix on that date.

According to the El Peridico newspaper, actual talks between Aragon officials and Ecclestone have taken place.

Officially, the circuit's chief executive Antonio Gasion denied the report's claims.

But the report insisted that Ecclestone raised the possibility of a grand prix for Aragon in late October, demanding a EUR 22 million race promotion fee.

A circuit source told the newspaper that Aragon turned down the offer "because the possibility of recovering that level of investment is zero".

"We have never ruled out being eligible for a formula one grand prix in the future," added the source.  "For now, we are delighted with the motorcycle (MotoGP) race that fell to us from the sky."

08/03/10 (GMM)  Rumors that Korea will have to call off its formula one debut in October are refusing to go away.

The FIA's Charlie Whiting visited the site in the South Cholla province recently, amid organizer KAVO's insistence the facility is nearing completion.

But at the same time, an unnamed official of the Korea Auto Valley Operation admitted the track is "delayed", after an earlier completion schedule called for a July handover to F1 authorities.

And a report in Spain's sports daily AS says the new completion date of late August may also now be delayed.

The newspaper said the actual circuit and security features will be ready in time, but that KAVO is "far behind with the construction of the grandstands, pits, control buildings and the press room".

AS said the Motorland Aragon venue in Spain could replace Korea's October 22-24 race date, so that the full 19 races take place this season.

Said Whiting after his recent visit: "There is still work to be done, but the circuit should be ready in good time for the first grand prix.

"Weekly progress reports will be submitted to the FIA and a further inspection will be carried out in six to seven weeks."

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