The 2010 Formula 1 season is coming to an end, and the Korean International Circuit will be a great chance for Fernando Alonso to reduce the 14 point difference that separates him from the leader Mark Webber.
The Korean International Circuit gives the impression that it has been constructed especially for this vibrating and exiting end of –one of the best championships ever- season, where each of the top teams will find themselves benefit from a sector in particular according to their characteristics. A lot of doubts surrounded the Korean circuit of Yeongam concerned about whether the race was going to be disputed or not. The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) usually confirms a race three months in advance, but in this case they did the exception of approving it with just one week ahead of time, because of the importance of the financial benefit that this Grand Prix represents to the organization.
According to Ferrari’s driver Fernando Alonso –who is in second place with 206 points – this circuit is a kind of like a mixture of other racetracks in one, since the long straights and strong braking of first sector resemble Bahrain. Istanbul’s curve 8 seems to be recreated in curve 11 of the second sector, while the third sector has a lot in common with Abu Dhabi. These aspects that Alonso points out are what make of this circuit a neutral racetrack, since each team will find its ups and downs in each sector.
A lot of the adrenaline of the race is expected to be accumulated in curve 3, as it has a straight of one kilometer, offering the ideal conditions to pass opponents, adding a big dose of excitement to the first lap, dose that Alonso won’t need to take as he is “looking forward to getting at the controls of the F10”.
Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa shares some of the comparisons his partner made, as he finds the hard braking into slow corners alike to Bahrain’s. But Massa’s first look at the circuit made him think of Shanghai’s high speed corners and long straights as well.
Phillip Prew is McLaren’s principal race engineer and he has also found a lot of similarities in this circuit with others, such as the “long straights with big stops” from Canada or the “high-downforce sector” that resembles Hungary.
Although the drivers have only been able to experience the circuit on the simulator, all of them share the same concern: the recently-laid track surface that makes it unpredictable to tell how the tires will respond. The new pavement layer works were just concluded two weeks ago, which will make it a very slippery surface, that could easily be destroyed when the vehicles look for traction.
Now focusing on the battle for the championship between Red Bull and Ferrari, where Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have the lead in terms of favoritism, Fernando Alonso has received great news from his teammate Felipe Massa, who has affirmed that he will help his Alonso win the championship. Massa has decided to put his ego aside -after last week he stated that “I don’t start any race hoping to come in second”- for the fulfillment of the team’s goals.
If Alonso ends up winning this championship he will become the youngest thee-time champion in history, and would be closing with a flourish his impressive season. Right now he is just waiting for a mistake from Webber to make his winning move. One fact that plays to his favor is that every year that a new circuit is opened –except from Valencia- he has either won or climbed to the podium, including the 2008 and 2009 seasons for Renault.
The leader of the championship with 220 points –Webber- occupies that position because he has barely done mistakes and hasn’t risk it. While his teammate Vettel -despite being fast and intelligent- hasn’t been able to prevent some mistakes from happening, and comes in third with 206 points –same amount as Alonso-. Vettel signed his third victory of the season in Japan, and if he manages to race in that same way in Korea, his options of winning another Asian circuit are high.