- The Korean Grand Prix made its debut in 2010, and the track layout is essentially unchanged from last year. The circuit features what is reported to be the longest straight in Asia, where the drivers are at full throttle for over 1100m. There are two other significant straights, across the start-finish line and between turns 3 and 4, which are approximately 700m and 500m respectively.
- With the regulation changes introduced for 2011, the drivers might not be able to take turns 6-9 flat. Whilst this will effectively reduce the circuit’s power sensitivity, there will be a greater emphasis placed on drivability – mainly due to increased tire wear.
From the Race Track
Information provided by David Lamb, Cosworth Senior Engineer
- As at any circuit that features such a long straight, selecting suitable ratios will be important – particularly 7th gear. Wind conditions were changeable in 2010, possibly due to the circuit’s close proximity to the Yellow Sea. Conditions look set to be equally changeable this year, with rain possibly affecting Friday’s running and the wind strength expected to both increase and change direction throughout the weekend. Strong gusts are forecast for Sunday, which will make the ratio decision on Friday night difficult to predict.
- The DRS also adds further complication to the ratio decision; a compromise must be reached between Qualifying and the Race. Aiming to just reach the 7th gear throttle-based limiter in Qualifying will optimize your grid position, but adding a race fuel load and regulated DRS use 24 hours later could leave the driver a sitting target down the straights on Sunday. Cars in the mid-field will tend to ratio longer to ensure they get the maximum DRS delta to assist with overtakes during the race.
- During FP3 last year, an interesting feature of the circuit was discovered by chance. The pit lane entry is after T17 and, when the driver enters the pits at speed, the corner is effectively extended for another half second. This extra period of sustained lateral G at a low oil level was enough to trigger the oil pressure protection strategy, resulting in the car returning to the garage in ‘limp-home’ mode. As the driver was boxing anyway, the loss of track time was fortunately kept to a minimum.