• Korean Grand Prix

Political tensions threaten Korean Grand Prix

ESPNF1 Staff
June 5, 2010 « Manager not ruling out F1 switch for Raikkonen | »
The grandstand at the Korean International Circuit at sunset © Sutton Images

Despite assurances from a number of senior officials, including Bernie Ecclestone, rumours continue to circulate that all is not well in Korea ahead of October's inaugural grand prix.

Although Ecclestone recently dismissed rumours that construction of the new Yeongam circuit might not be finished on time, political tensions between South Korea and the rogue North have been escalating. South Korea has blamed the North for the recent sinking of a naval vessel that killed 46 sailors, and the North retaliated by threatening all-out war.

"If there is [war] we won't be there obviously," F1 chief executive Ecclestone told reporters in Turkey. Some media reports claim the political situation may already have further slowed down construction of the 5.62 kilometre circuit.

Amid the uncertainty, it is believed that the F1 teams association FOTA is not currently prepared to charter some of its equipment to Korea ahead of time if there is no guarantee of a race.

Moreover, it emerges that most teams have not yet booked airline tickets and hotel rooms for their staff, even though plans for the subsequent Brazilian and Abu Dhabi events are well advanced.

If Korea is cancelled, there will be an extremely rare four-week break between the Japanese and Brazilian grands prix.