• Korean Grand Prix

Chandhok predicts close racing in Korea

ESPNF1 Staff
October 19, 2010 « Prost labels Schumacher's comeback 'unrealistic' | »
Karun Chandhok demonstarted a Red Bull at Korea earlier this year © Korean Grand Prix

Karun Chandhok is predicting an exciting race at this weekend's Korean Grand Prix, with the brand new layout most likely suiting Red Bull.

Chandhok is the only F1 driver to turn a wheel on the new circuit, after demonstrating a Red Bull there earlier this year. Since then the top surface has been laid on the track and there are some concerns that, without the necessary time to cure, oils in the tarmac will come to the surface and reduce grip levels significantly. Chandhok said that was possible but it would not be a serious problem.

"The grip levels will be lower perhaps than they might be in six weeks as it takes time for the oil to come to the surface," he told the Daily Telegraph. "When they resurfaced Donington in 2004 everyone went three seconds slower than they did later in the year after it had bedded in. But I don't think it will be dangerous."

Chandhok expects the track layout to play to the strengths of the Red Bulls, but reckons it should also make for an interesting start as McLaren and Ferrari have better straight-line speed in the flat-out first sector.

"The Red Bull is quick everywhere," he told Reuters in a separate interview. "But I think here, specifically though the first sector of the lap with the three long straights, they may not be as quick as some of the others. Ferrari and McLaren will be strong ...

"Even if the Red Bulls qualify one-two, it will be interesting to see because of the long straights in sector one if they hold that advantage into turn four on the first lap.

"I do think the gap will be closer...I think the gap will be close enough that if [Ferrari's Fernando] Alonso or [McLaren's] Lewis [Hamilton] or Jenson [Button] dig deep they could sneak a win out of it."

Chandhok added that he was surprised more of the F1 paddock had not contacted him to get a firsthand account of the new circuit before Friday's practice.

"You'd expect people to be calling, really," he said. "I would have done that. Even driving down at the back of the grid, if for example somebody else had gone off there to Korea...I would have been grabbing at their ankles to find out as much as I can about it.

"To be fair, a lot of people have very good simulators and they have a lot of faith in their simulators and simulation software. I think a lot of them tend to believe that more than anything else."

But he said Mark Webber spoke to him about Korea.

"Obviously he was very curious to see what I thought about the place and what the circuit was like," said Chandhok.

And he had a more recent discussion with Button.

"We were chatting about this and that and he was quite curious about Korea," Chandok added. "I think some of that stuff is not so apparent until you get there. So he had questions about that sort of stuff."