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Korea preview quotes - Red Bull, Cosworth, Williams, Ferrari & more 21 Oct 2010

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Preparations, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Thursday, 21 October 2010 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 8 October 2010 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Preparations, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Thursday, 21 October 2010 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 9 October 2010 Bruno Senna (BRA) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 9 October 2010

If there is one thing all the drivers and their teams love, it is a challenge, and the inaugural Korean Grand Prix should certainly be one of the biggest challenges of the season. Only just approved by the FIA, the Yeongam track is a real unknown quantity. Although they have undoubtedly studied the circuit map and sampled it on a simulator, the drivers have yet to experience the newly-built circuit for real, and they clearly can’t wait to get cracking. The drivers and team personnel reveal their preparations...

Mark Webber, Red Bull
“I arrived in South Korea early on Thursday morning, having taken an overnight flight from Sydney to Tokyo where I connected onto a private charter which Jenson Button had organised. We flew into the closest airport to the track which meant we avoided the five-hour car journey from Seoul to the Yeongam circuit. No surprise we’re doing the same thing back out on Sunday night. It’s been good to see the track in the flesh. I drove it on the simulator a few weeks ago and I’ve studied various maps of it since then, but there’s no substitute to walking it. My first impressions are good, but I’ll be in a much better position to judge it after practice tomorrow. We’re expecting the surface to be very slippery early on. The top layer of asphalt was laid two weeks ago, so it’s still curing and is quite oily. Various sections of the circuit were being cleaned while I was on my track walk and in those places it was like an ice rink. But it’ll be the same for everyone. I’m expecting the usual suspects to be at the front this weekend. The five championship contenders will all be quick and you can’t rule out Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari or Robert Kubica in the Renault. Robert’s driven some sensational races this year and he was very quick at Suzuka, until his wheel fell off early in the race. My aim is to win my fifth race of the season on Sunday. It won’t be easy because I’m not expecting my RB6 to be as dominant as it was in Japan, due to the lack of medium and high-speed corners at Yeongam. But it’s a great racing car and I hope to be competitive. I have a small buffer at the top of the championship table, but the top five drivers are separated by just 31 points. That’s little more than a win, so I can’t afford to sit back and play the percentage game. I have to go out there and try to get the maximum possible from the race.”

Cosworth, engine suppliers to Williams, Lotus, Virgin & HRT
“The start-finish straight is fairly straightforward with a relatively tight Turn One leading directly into Turn Two, which is likely to be taken flat, leading onto a long 1.2km straight. From an engine point of view this long straight is quite a challenge. Cosworth engineers reported quite a strong breeze on Wednesday which could make selecting seventh gear difficult if it changes direction or strength; a small change in wind direction can result in either ‘kissing’ the limiter at the end of the straight, which is preferred, or sitting in it for extended periods. In this respect, the circuit is similar to Montreal. After a tight section of corners from Four to Six, the sequence of Turns Six through Eight appears to be the most challenging for the driver with the lateral acceleration predicted to be in excess of 4G. As the track is very green, we will only get a true indication of the peak lateral acceleration once it rubbers in fully. In terms of oil surge, it is these corners that are likely to indicate the minimum permissible running oil level. Turns Nine through 18 are all fairly tight, sequential and relatively slow. The interesting contrast between this final sector and Sector One is the requirement to fit shorter ratios for the small bursts of acceleration between the corners. However, this has to be combined with a seventh gear that provides a competitive top speed. This sequence of corners is also a test of the engine’s part throttle driveability. As such Korea is a genuine test of all aspects of the engine, as much as it is for the car, which is unusual. Fuel consumption is another unknown. As the track rubbers in, the fuel consumption will go up as more power is put down per lap, so only once the track has finished rubbering in will it be possible to gauge a typical race fuel consumption figure. The nature of the track will change so dramatically as it rubbers in that teams will almost certainly assess different set-up solutions throughout Friday.”

Rubens Barrichello, Williams
“I’m very open minded going to Korea. All I know about the circuit is that there is a long straight and some tight corners, that’s it. We haven’t been able to do much preparation so we will just have to go there and get on with it. I will be walking the circuit on Thursday and will then probably go round it on a moped later. I’ll also be going through any data my engineers may have, but that’s all we can do. It’ll be the same for everyone; we’ll just learn it as we go along. You know how to drive a Formula One car; you know how to drive fast, so you just hook it up. I’ve never been to Korea before so I don’t know what to expect, but I’m looking forward to seeing the country and finding out what it’s like.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Williams
“Well, I don’t know too much about the track like everybody else, but as a rookie that has had to compete on some other circuits that the drivers know really well, the fact that none of us have completed a lap in Korea makes it a great leveller for me. Although I don’t expect the overall championship order to be greatly affected, I think we go to this race knowing we have just as much chance as anyone else. And of course it will be a great adventure for us all to discover more about this new Formula One host country and I am looking forward to it immensely.”

Sam Michael, Williams technical director
“I'm sure Korea is going to present some surprises. We certainly expect the track surface to be quite low grip because it's only recently been laid. We already have basic information on gear ratios and rear wing levels from simulation work, but the other aspects of mechanical and aero set-up will need a lot of quick thinking during Friday practice. All the teams are in the same position of not knowing the track so it's an opportunity for us to make the best of a level playing field. Having a new venue on the calendar is always welcome and the team are definitely looking forward to experiencing something different.”

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
“I have to say the first impressions are positive. First off, there are no big surprises as what we saw on the simulator over the past weeks and the reality of it have a lot in common. It seems to be a very interesting circuit, which should be fun to drive, especially the final sector. What track is it similar to? It’s a mix of various ones. The first sector reminds me a lot of Bahrain: long straights with heavy braking that lead into 180 degree turns. The second is similar to Turkey, especially Turn 11 which makes you think of Turn Eight in Istanbul, while the final one is similar to the third sector in Abu Dhabi. When you arrive at a new circuit, you are even keener than usual to get on with the driving, so the two days that still separate us from the time to do the first lap on Friday morning will seem very long. I think we could be in for a spectacular race: there are at least a couple of places were overtaking seems possible, especially under braking for Turn Three which comes at the end of a straight that is over a kilometre in length. There should be plenty of action there on the opening lap of the race, more than we will see at the start.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari
“I have been at home in Brazil for about a week and I made good use of my time, getting as well prepared as possible for the final trio of races. They are going to be very important for me on a personal level to fight back after the disappointing outcome of the last two races. However, more importantly, I will be trying to bring home a significant number of points to help the Scuderia in its fight for both championships. Firstly we need to qualify well on Saturday and after that, in the race, I want to be in the middle of the battle for the drivers' championship, fighting with the five drivers who are chasing the title, which is the best thing I can do to help Ferrari's and Fernando's aspirations. Ferrari has been competitive at most circuits and there is no reason to think differently this time. It has a very long straight indeed and a mixture of high and low speed corners: we will therefore need to ensure that the F10 runs as efficiently as possible, delivering good top speed for that long straight, but also generating plenty of downforce. We have seen this year how important it is to get everything working well right from the start of Friday practice, running reliably to get through the engineering programme without any technical problems. That will also be the case this weekend, but in addition, the first few runs on Friday will be the first time we discover how accurate has been the simulation work we have done back at the factory.”

Bruno Senna, HRT
“Going to Korea for the first time should be a very interesting experience. No one has been to the circuit before, but it seems to be a challenging track. It is a mix of a sector with slow corners and long straights and another one with changes of direction on medium speed corners. You need a car with good braking stability and good traction. It is a bit unknown for everyone, but we hope that, as it is going to be the first time here for everybody, it will level the playing-field and make it possible for us to achieve a good result.”

Sakon Yamamoto, HRT
“I am looking forward to race at the Korea International Circuit and it is going to be really exciting as no one has ever raced on this completely new track before. The layout calls up slow and high speed corners and you have to find the right set-up. We have to learn the specialities of the circuit very quickly to get the best out of the car. After achieving my best race result in front of my home crowd, I am highly motivated to show a good performance again.”

Dr Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
“Everyone in the Formula One paddock is excited to come to Korea. The circuit has been completed just before the start of the event and so you can say that it is brand-new. Located by the sea, the circuit is formed by a permanent section but about half of the lap is a temporary section. After our good result in Japan, where we could bring both cars to the finish line again, we are working hard for another positive race weekend.”

Timo Glock, Virgin
“I always look forward to the challenge of a new circuit and after everything that has been said about Korea I can’t wait to arrive there and see the new track for myself. It is a high downforce circuit with what look to be some challenging corners, particularly the section between Turns Seven-Nine, 11-12 and Turn 17, which is almost flat, blind and important as it leads onto the second longest straight. I think there will also be some good overtaking spots in the early part of the lap. I’m looking forward to Free Practice as in addition to getting my first real taste of the track it is always interesting to see how well our simulation work translates to reality. We have a lot of hard work to do in the remaining three races and it is important that we find everything we can from the current package to try to end the season well.”

Lucas di Grassi, Virgin
“I'm looking forward to Korea, a country that I have never been to before, and the circuit looks exciting from the pre-work we have done on the simulator. I'm confident I can put in another good performance as the track is new to everyone and we have some upgrades on the car. I have recovered well from the Suzuka accident and I have been training as hard as ever for the last three races of the season.”

John Booth, Virgin team principal
“For a time, many of us thought this race may not happen, so it is testament to all the hard work carried out by the organisers that the Korean International Circuit is now ready for racing. Our congratulations to everyone involved. Much has been said about the track and the venue, but we are excited at the prospect of discovering it for ourselves in the days ahead. We have been busy in recent months working with a simulation of the new track from the data that has been provided and our own calculations. Timo and Lucas have done countless ‘virtual’ race distances of the circuit already, but of course there is no substitute for turning a wheel for the first time when Free Practice gets underway on Friday in order to properly gauge what the track has in store for us. The biggest unknown quantity will of course be the asphalt, which was only laid a few weeks ago and will therefore be very ‘green’. With the weather conditions expected to be similar to Suzuka – although perhaps not quite as extreme as Saturday - I think we have a very interesting weekend ahead as we work towards finding the optimum setup for the race. It is difficult to believe that we have only three races of our debut season remaining, but we will be pulling out all the stops to try to end the year on a high.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
“I drove the Yeongam circuit on the simulator earlier this week to get a head start on what to expect when we arrive. It looks as though it is a good circuit with plenty of interesting corners and sections that could provide some overtaking opportunities. I would say overall it's a medium speed circuit - there are three long straights where you can reach over 315 km/h but also some slow to medium sections that will bring the overall speed down. There's a real mix of corners, including some Tilke 'trademarks' such as a hairpin after one of the straights and some more flowing curves. I've seen and driven the layout on the sim, but what you can't get an idea of is the bumps, the grip levels and the kerbs. As the track surface has been laid only very recently it's going to evolve over the weekend - I expect this to be one of the major talking points of the weekend and we'll look to get as much information on Friday. I expect we'd run a medium level of downforce on the circuit but a lot will depend on the bumps and the track surface. If there is a lot of grip then we could even run a lower level but we'll see when we get there. It just means practice will be busier than usual as this is the kind of information you can only get when you drive the cars on the track. Aside from learning a new track, which is always a pleasure to do, I'm also very keen to see some of Korea. I love Asia and discovering new places in the region and I've not been to this area before at all. I'll have a day in Seoul, which I've heard is a really vibrant place, and then I'll head down to the south to the more rural area the circuit's in for Wednesday night. It's going to be an interesting weekend as we've got a big battle on our hands at the moment. We've got to do better in qualifying this race and then of course finish - it was a disappointment not to get to the end as the car has been very reliable this year, but it just makes me more determined to get points this time out, both for myself and for the team.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India
“This week I've been in the factory and have had a day in the simulator to get to know the Korean circuit. My first impression of the track is that it will be a pretty nice one to drive. It has a lot of different types of corners, from slow to high and it won't be easy to find a set up that will suit every type of corner you have there. I think the first sector with the long, long straights and tight corner into another straight will really suit our car; the second sector not as much but we will see when we get there - so much will depend on the grip levels and the track surface. It will make Friday practice pretty busy as we look through all the data and try to get the most out of the car and the tyres. We've got a couple of new tweaks on the car as well that will make the programme even more charged. Plus I will have another chassis to use in Korea and for the last three races as my car was very badly damaged in Japan. My goal this time out is of course to go the whole distance in the race and also to make the most of qualifying as we have really been struggling in this area. We have found it hard to get temperature into the tyres over one flying lap and that means we've started further back, but we will try and understand it and see if we can improve. I'm looking forward to getting out there and doing a good job throughout the weekend; it's going to be an interesting one for sure.”

Paul di Resta, Force India test and reserve driver
“As we decided at the start of the season, I'm not going to be driving in Korea as it's a new track for everyone and the drivers will need the extra track time to get used to its nuances. With the track being ready so late, that extra time is even more important as the conditions are going to evolve very, very quickly over the race weekend. From my perspective however it will be interesting to see the new venue and also experience how the team prepares for a completely new event, both at the track and back at the factory. I'm sure the whole paddock will be a different atmosphere, as no one really knows what to expect. We've heard it's a great facility so let's hope it is as good as it sounds. Like everyone else on the team I'm looking forward to seeing something completely new.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
“It's going to be a very interesting event for us as a team. It's a new track, a new country that very few people on the team have been to before so it will be a big challenge for us to address. We've tried to gather us much information on both the facility and the area in advance to make it as smooth as possible. Both drivers have been in the simulator to learn the layout and the team will fly out earlier than usual to get used to the area, the track and of course the jet lag - we realise it's a very hard time of year for everyone. We've got some changes to the front wing and a small mechanical update that we didn't use in Suzuka because of the weather. We are also looking at introducing some new aero tweaks to strengthen performance, but of course we want to make sure any effort is targeted and will give a genuine improvement.”

Robert Kubica, Renault
“I have seen the videos on You Tube and collected as much information as I can with the team. I will do some virtual laps to learn the layout before we walk the track with the engineers on Thursday. To be honest, though, the first installation lap gives you more information than most of the preparation you can do. The track looks pretty interesting. There's a bit of everything: long corners, high-speed and low-speed sections, and the final sector seems quite challenging. A lot will depend on the level of grip that the asphalt has. If the grip is high, then some of the corners will be easy flat; if it's low, they will be a big challenge. We have seen already this year, at races like Hockenheim and Canada, that the grip varies a lot with new tarmac. And that makes it very difficult to predict what will happen this weekend in Korea, and how competitive we can be relative to our rivals.”

Vitaly Petrov, Renault
“It's hard to do any special preparation because it's a brand new circuit and there have not been any races there yet. This means there is very little information available. All I have done is some simulator work to help me learn the track. Because it's a new circuit, I think this makes life a little bit easier for me because everybody will be in the same situation and will have to learn the track. The best thing is to walk the track and see it for yourself. Then, I like to do some laps on my bike to understand as much as I can. You have to look at things like the kerbs and the run-off areas. All this is helpful, but you obviously learn the most during the first free practice session. It's important that you know the lap by the end of this first session. It looks like a tricky circuit. The third sector looks quite a challenge because it's low-speed with most corners probably taken in second or third gear. Turns Seven and Eight will be quick corners and there are three long straights where it's important to use the F-duct. Overall I think it will be quite a good circuit for our car. There should also be some opportunities for overtaking.”

Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
“It's always exciting to visit a new venue and, following our Roadshow in Seoul earlier this month, we know that Formula One can expect a very warm and enthusiastic welcome from the country's fans. Any new track brings with it plenty of unknowns, and the potential for surprises up and down the grid. The circuit presents a variety of challenges, some well-suited to our car and others less so. As always, our aim will be to extract the maximum from the car and to make the most of every opportunity that presents itself to us.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
“I left Suzuka on Monday morning still buzzing after such a great race. I said then that the car was just fantastic to drive, and all drivers pray for days like that - it meant so much to the whole team, and our fans, for us to go one better than we did in Australia. That sort of result gives us a huge boost as the season draws towards the end, particularly because we were so far ahead of both Virgins - while they have kept updating their car at each race, we’ve been working on 2011 and haven’t updated our car since Silverstone, so to stay that far ahead is a major result. I’m looking forward to Korea. It’s new for all of us, and while I’ve had a bit of a look at the layout, the first couple of laps will be all about finding the right lines, and then we will focus on setups. To be honest, it won’t take long to get to grips with the track and I think the car will be ok there. It’s a pretty typical modern circuit - a couple of long straights with heavy braking at the end, and then a mix of a few tighter corners and a couple more quicker ones, so we should be about where we were in Japan. If I get another set of tyres like my second set in Suzuka it’ll be great, but whatever happens, we're closer to tenth in the championship now, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Jarno Trulli, Lotus
“I really enjoyed Japan but it was good to get home! The whole team performed really well over the weekend, and we took a big step towards the end goal of tenth, so everyone left happy. Korea looks pretty good - some drivers use simulators or even games to take a look at the lines, but I usually find my way around a new venue by running a few laps of the track on the Thursday. It’s a good way to work out the stresses of the plane journey, and you get a view of where the braking and turn-in points are. Whatever happens, after a couple of laps I’ll know my way around and where I can push, so it doesn’t take long to acclimatise.”

Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
“I am still smiling from what happened in Japan. The whole team deserved a result like that, and we were able to capitalise on what was a pretty crazy race by being in the right place at the right time. That was down to having experienced drivers who kept out of trouble on track and drove brilliantly all weekend, a team on the pit wall who made the right calls to give us the chance to grab 12th and 13th, and guys in the garage who put in the hard work to help us stay well ahead of our competition - all in all it was a fantastic team effort.”

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
“Looking back to Japan, we could not really have had a better weekend. I think both Jarno and Heikki managed to extract every bit of performance they could from the cars, and that showed in our advantage over our nearest rivals in qualifying and in the race. We made a couple of announcements before the race about next year that showed how ambitious we really are, and there are more to come, but for now we go to Korea in a very positive frame of mind. It is always a bit of a step into the unknown when you go to a new venue, but we have completed a number of simulation programs at the factory that have given us a pretty good idea of how the car will behave on track. The big unknowns are what downforce levels to run, and how the track surface will stand up to the rigours of a full race weekend. We will find the right setup over the weekend, and any track issues are out of our control - it has been passed by the FIA so we will just go there and do our best. If there are any problems, it will be the same for everyone, so we cannot waste time worrying about what might happen - we will just focus on bringing both cars home in the race and taking another step closer to the end of the season.”

Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber
“I am very excited about going to the next Grand Prix! After the race in Suzuka I am even more motivated. I went straight to Tokyo to stay there until I have to travel to South Korea. I had a couple of promotional activities and meetings, but also time to relax and do some sports in order to prepare for the next race. I always enjoy nice warm weather, and also it was good for me to stay in the same time zone instead of flying back and forth to Europe. I have never been to South Korea. At some circuits this year other drivers have had an advantage in terms of knowing the track, but this time it is the same for everybody. I am very much looking forward to discovering the circuit!”

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
“Two years ago I went to South Korea for the first time - I was doing demo runs with our former Formula One car. It was the first time a F1 car had been fired up in that country. The circuit didn’t exist, so I drove on a closed street in Seoul and then in Gwang-ju, a city in the province of Jeollanam-do where the circuit has been built. The track is a long way away from the capital, therefore the weekend will kick off with a several hour drive, which might be a little inconvenient after a long flight. At the moment hardly anyone knows exactly what to expect on site. I am very curious to see the track and the facilities! From a driver’s perspective the most important thing is that the tarmac lasts. If the final layer is laid a short time before, it is generally understood it can be oily which, of course, would be extremely problematic. But I can only give any informed information about the quality and layout of the track once I have driven there. Generally I welcome new venues because they provide a special driving challenge, and for a world championship it is positive to race in as many countries as possible.”

James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
“For the new Korea circuit any preparation we are able to do will rely on the information we have on the track’s layout. We can, of course, undertake initial simulations and make predictions, but ultimately it is difficult to foresee everything with such a new circuit, and we will only know all this when we get there. We have a CAD file of the circuit from which we can derive an ideal driving line, and this can then be used to run our simulation tools. It allows us to play with different downforce and grip levels, braking severity and, to a certain extent, to look at mechanical settings and ride heights. But this is obviously very general as you don’t know how bumpy the track is, how the grip levels are, how the tyres will degrade or if the drivers will take a different line and so on. You can not prepare for these unknown factors, but you have to make sure you are ready to deal with them and so spread predictive work out to cover various different scenarios. Only then can we consider how to react to whatever the case may be. For other new tracks on the calendar you would have data from different racing series, but this is not the case here. It is up to the teams and drivers to learn quickly and react in the best possible way to optimise the car, so it will be a good challenge. The track looks extremely interesting with three straights, heavy braking at the end of each and then very winding sections for the second half of the lap. It looks like a technical track, and one of those where you face the challenge to find a compromise for the downforce levels required. However, theoretically it looks like a higher downforce track with a winding section towards the end of the lap. It will be a very interesting weekend for all of us and we look forward to visiting Korea for the first time.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP
"It will be an exciting challenge to race at the new Korean circuit. It looks great from the pictures that we have seen recently and I hope that the asphalt holds up as it has only been put down very recently. It is always interesting to learn a new circuit and generally I get up to speed quickly so I'm looking forward to the weekend."

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP
"Finally this year we are going to a circuit which is not only new for me but for all of the drivers. Korea will be a very interesting country to see and even if the track has only just been finished in time, I am confident that everything will be fine. I am very much in favour of new races and I think it is a benefit for all of us in the sport. It should not be too complicated to learn the layout and we are used to adapting quickly to new circumstances. We had quite a good race in Japan last weekend and are hoping that we can move forward again and put on a good show at the first race in Korea."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"We are very pleased to be visiting Korea next week and are looking forward to the experience of racing in a new country for Formula One. It is important for the future of our sport that we continue to expand our global fan base therefore we are very pleased that the venue is ready in time after some uncertainty. We have been preparing for the new Korean circuit back at the factory with work on our simulator so we have a good idea of what to expect but as always with a new track, it will be an interesting challenge."

Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"The first Korean Grand Prix will be a completely new experience for everybody involved in Formula One and our team welcomes this new race onto the calendar. The organisers have had a challenging period of time to get the new facilities complete according to the initial plan but everything seems to be ready now. We are looking forward to an exiting first race at this new track in Yeongam where we can hopefully continue to get the maximum from our current technical package, as in the last races, and score additional points."

Jenson Button, McLaren
“It’s always exciting visiting a new circuit for the first time. The Korean track certainly looks very interesting - a real mix of different characteristics - and there appear to be a couple of very likely opportunities for overtaking, particularly at the end of the three main straights, but possibly also off-line in the twisty final sector. The track looks quite high-speed, and the walls are close, so I think it’ll be an interesting challenge. As with any new circuit, it looks like it might throw up a few unexpected issues - not necessarily on the racetrack itself, but I’m sure the teams and drivers will work together with the organisers to make sure the event is a complete success. We’ve made some improvements to the parts we tested in Suzuka, and it’s looking likely that we’ll run the new parts on Friday in Korea. As with all our upgrades, we are pushing the envelope, so I’m optimistic that the tests will be positive and that we’ll be able to race the new components.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
“I’ve driven the Korean International Circuit on the simulator, and my first impressions were extremely positive. On paper, the track should suit our car quite well - the first sector is all about good end-of-straight speeds and strong performance under heavy braking, both key characteristics of our car. And the middle sector is fast and flowing; it’s the kind of place where you want a car with a good balance and good downforce. I think it’ll reward commitment - it actually feels like quite a nice driver’s track. The end of the lap is slower and tighter, but it’s still all about rhythm and flow - so, as long as the track surface is nice and grippy, I think we’re set for an enjoyable first race in Korea. I’m looking forward to the weekend - I think we can have a positive race. While recent results haven’t necessarily shown it, we’ve had a strong car - now I’m hoping to get the chance to prove it on track.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“With three races remaining, and 75 points on the table for the drivers, it would be unwise to write off Jenson, Lewis or Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Both drivers have won world championships before - they understand the difficulties of such a unique situation, and both have learned how to deliver their best under high pressure. They will be ready for this battle. And it’s a battle that will doubtless be won by consistency. While we will continue with our aggressive development strategy, bringing further new components to this race, we’re mindful of the need to bag points at every race. Nonetheless, we are committed to winning, and won’t give up without a fight. Finally, to clarify, following his gearbox issue in Suzuka, Lewis will not face a second successive five-place grid penalty this weekend. The gearbox regulations were framed to ensure teams weren’t penalised twice for the same gearbox issue, so Lewis will go into the weekend without risk of further penalty.”

Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development
"This Grand Prix presents everyone in Formula one with an interesting challenge as the circuit has only recently been completed. This means that we cannot look at any data from races there so we have to rely on simulation data. From this information, the maximum and average speeds will be 310 km/h and 205 km/h respectively. This places the track between Catalunya and Istanbul and close to Sepang in terms of speed, which is an important factor determining the allocation of the hard and soft tyres. Korea should be a good test of all of our technology and I expect all the team engineers to be working very hard indeed over the weekend trying to understand the best car set-ups and tyre strategies for the race. As it will be the first motor racing event at the facility we expect a lot of track surface evolution over the weekend. It will also be interesting to see how the teams and individual drivers adapt to this track, particularly those in the hunt for the championship battle."

More to follow.

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