Korea preview quotes - Red Bull, FIA, Force India, Virgin & more 12 Oct 2011
After the excitement of Suzuka, the paddock barely has time to catch its breath as it heads straight to Yeongam for this weekends 2011 Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix. Its only the races second year on the calendar and after the torrential rain of last seasons inaugural event, the teams and drivers will be hoping for some drier conditions in which to sample the challenging 5.615 km Korea International Circuit
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 1st, 2010 Race - DNF
Its been a great few days - but now I am fully focused on the next race in Korea. The circuit is very demanding and quite tight, especially at the pit lane entry. You actually drive almost blind along the wall and, if the car in front of you drives into the pit, you have to quickly get out of the way. The track is pretty slippery at the start and gets better by the end of practice. The track in Korea is effectively made up of three parts. The first reminds me of Turkey; the second stretch has long straights like Monza and the third has tight corners like a town track. It is as if they have taken corners from Monte Carlo or Istanbul. Its important to find a rhythm. I find corner 11, which has two apexes, the most interesting.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 2nd, 2010 Race - DNF
Im looking forward to racing again this weekend. Korea is a track that I like driving on - the last two sectors are very busy with lots of corners and Im also expecting the racing to be pretty exciting on the long straights too. The DRS is allowed for the second part of the long straight and should help with overtaking in the race. As always, we need to see how the tyres perform on race day, which will have a large bearing on the results. Im looking forward to being right in the mix for the win. Its the second year we will go to Korea and it will be interesting to see if the track surface has changed over the winter at all.
Charlie Whiting, FIA race director
Were hoping for a slightly easier race this year than last. 2010 was very difficult for a number of reasons. The circuit was very late, as we know, and lots of problems had to be sorted out between practice sessions. Were hoping it wont be like that this year and were optimistic that things will have improved considerably. The track was quite a hit with the drivers as it was quite challenging. The only thing that was a little bit of a problem was the long straight between Turn Two and Turn Three, in the wet, as visibility was quite difficult. A good deal of marshal training has gone on since last year, with the help of CAMS, which will also help the event run smoothly.
Adrian Sutil, Force India
2010 Qualifying - 14th, 2010 Race - DNF
(Last year) it was a very wet weekend for all of us but the track was very nice. When we arrived it still needed some work doing with some kerbs missing, but the general layout was nice with a good flow. It may have changed a bit this year because nearly all tracks develop bumps in the braking zones - thats just what happens when you have Formula One cars running because of the forces involved. The first sector is mainly straights and hairpins, which is ideal for overtaking, while the second and third sectors have some high-speed corners. I particularly liked the direction changes through turns seven, eight and nine. And the last sector has lots of changes of direction one after the other - a bit like the first sector at Suzuka. So there is a good mix of everything.
Paul Di Resta, Force India
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
Its another technical lap with some quite distinctive sectors and different characteristics. There are some slower, more technical parts to the lap in the first sector, which should play to our strengths, while the second and third sectors are high-speed and have a nice flow. Also, Pirelli are bringing the soft and super soft tyres, which is a combination that tends to work quite well for us.
Timo Glock, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - 20th, 2010 Race - DNF
On the way to Korea I went to Kyoto. I took my bike with me and did a bit of cycling and training. I enjoyed last years race here in the rain. Lets see what happens this year, but Im sure it will be another interesting weekend for us again. Im looking forward to Korea; its still a young race and the track is quite good. It combines long high-speed straights and slow corners like the start of sector two: three extremely slow zig-zag turns where you need to find a good rhythm, attack the kerbs a little as well as keeping the speed up. Then you have to accelerate hard out of Turn Six towards a very fast sequence of turns where its very important to get them as clean as possible otherwise theres a high risk of going off track. So in general theres hardly a breather to be had in Korea, which makes it even more of a challenge. On the way to Korea I went to Kyoto. I took my bike with me and did a bit of cycling and training. I enjoyed last years race here in the rain. Lets see what happens this year, but Im sure it will be another interesting weekend for us again.
Jerome DAmbrosio, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
I feel that in the last two races - Singapore and Japan - Ive built up a strong momentum which I hope I can continue to the end of the season. Im learning so much with each new race and really enjoying all the new experiences. I have spent a couple of days in Tokyo before heading to Korea, l did some training and prepared myself for the race weekend ahead. Im looking forward to this race - the track was definitely a fun one to drive last year, even with just my brief experience of it in FP1. Its a very different kind of race, coming from somewhere like Japan where F1 is very established and the fans are just incredible with their support, to a new territory like this and seeing how it can grow from the grass-roots level. I feel that in the last two races in - Singapore and Japan - Ive built up a strong momentum which I hope I can continue to the end of the season. Im learning so much with each new race and really enjoying all the new experiences.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
The championship may have been decided but we can still look forward to some great racing in the remaining four races. The team has done an excellent job getting from one race venue to the next in just over 12 hours. Its been a very tight turnaround but we are now here in South Korea ready to go racing again and hopeful of a positive weekend ahead. The championship may have been decided but we can still look forward to some great racing in the remaining four races. We learnt a lot about the track in 2010 but of course this year we go there with the Pirelli tyres for the first time. Were expecting to encounter a few challenges; finding the right set-up compromise is quite interesting here given the mix of long straights and tight, twisty sections. The track surface will have bedded in now, having been freshly laid just prior to the race last year, so we will see how the tyre choice plays out. The weather played a defining role in last years race but so far the forecast indicates a chance of rain earlier on in the weekend. Id like to take this opportunity to congratulate our reserve driver Robert Wickens, who won the WSR FR 3.5 Championship last Sunday while we were in Japan. He has done a great job this season and was a very worthy victor after a hard fight all year. We look forward to celebrating with him this weekend.
Rubens Barrichello, Williams
2010 Qualifying - 10th, 2010 Race - 7th
The race last year was very enjoyable. We were racing on wet tyres so well have to wait and see what the forecast has in store for us for this year but Im looking forward to enjoying what was a good Grand Prix last year.
Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
Korea will be another new circuit for me so it will be a hard race. I need to understand a bit more about the circuit to get myself ready ahead of Friday practice. It will be interesting as it will be my first time in both the country and at the track.
Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
After a difficult weekend in Suzuka, the whole team has reacted quickly and pushed hard not to have a repeat of the issues that gave us trouble during Friday's practice sessions. For this 55 lap race Pirelli are providing the Soft and Supersoft tyres, as per Singapore. Last year we saw a large grip evolution throughout the sessions and one should expect the same this year. Currently the forecast is predicting a wet Friday and chances of rain throughout the weekend, so we need to be prepared to adapt our running programme to suit the conditions. This is a medium to high speed circuit with a smooth track surface. We want to give both drivers maximum testing and set-up time on Friday in Korea in order to optimise the car's set-up. Our aim is of course to score points and to show a clear performance improvement from one race to the next.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 4th, 2010 Race - 2nd
I had a pretty good race here last year, finishing second - it was a long, tough afternoon, but Im glad we got the chance to put on a race for all the fans whod come for the first-ever grand prix in Korea. I think the DRS zone into Turn Three should definitely make for some exciting racing: last year, the back straight didnt really produce too much overtaking because it was so wet and there was so much spray by the time we reached that downhill braking area, that it wasnt an easy place to pull off a pass. The weathers supposed to be good next weekend, so I think well really begin to see how this circuit works in the dry. You can tell that this track has been designed to be a good place for racing - Turns Four, Five and Six are a bit like the end of the lap at Istanbul Park, where you can attack on the inside and the outside and try and fight your way past. So, yeah, second was a good place to start last year, but I want to go one better in 2011.
Jenson Button, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 7th, 2010 Race - 12th
Winning in Japan was one of the most satisfying and emotional victories of my career, and Im really looking forward to carrying that momentum into this weekend, too. Although last years Korean Grand Prix wasn't one of my greatest performances - we just couldnt get the car hooked up properly - I think that, given the current pace of the car and the form the team has at the moment, Im going into this years race feeling much more positive. The most important difference is that I have a car beneath me that I can really trust - for me, that wasnt really the case here last season: but, this year, our car just feels positive in every type of corner, and I feel comfortable pushing hard, because you can really feel the limit. I think you could really see that at Suzuka. So Im feeling much more optimistic about this years race. Its an interesting circuit, theres a good range of corners - Turn 11 is pretty unique, its a double-apex, heavily cambered left-hander, and the back-end of the track is quite interesting, too - theres only really one line through that sequence of bends, and, if you get one wrong, you can risk losing out through the whole sequence. Im quite confident that we should be able to hook the car up quite well through that sequence this year.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Jensons fantastic victory in Japan last weekend was his fifth consecutive podium finish and a great reward for him after some of the most impressively consistent driving of his career. Hes in fantastic spirits, and I know hes heading to Korea feeling incredibly positive about following up that win with another great result. Lewis, too, is keen to convert his pace into a strong result - he showed at both Singapore and Suzuka that he had the pace to put the car on pole position, but was unlucky to lose out for a variety of different reasons. It seems like luck is against him at the moment, but, knowing Lewis, he will bounce back stronger than ever. Weve lost none of our ambition to win now that the drivers championship has been resolved, and I know both our drivers would dearly love to score a one-two for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to further proof that we have a superbly competitive car at the moment. Last year, the people of Korea seemed to really embrace this Grand Prix - the grandstands were packed and the enthusiasm for the sport was infectious: thats a great foundation for a new race, and I hope that we can sustain that interest and enthusiasm into our second year. Finally, its a matter of considerable pride to the whole team that this weekends Korean Grand Prix will mark McLarens 700th Formula One Grand Prix - that's a massive achievement, so I hope we can crown it with another victory.
Bruno Senna, Renault
2010 Qualifying - 23rd, 2010 Race - DNF
My memories of last years event are not great; I had suspension failure in practice and then I had a very difficult race with the rain, safety car and then the red flag. It was a very difficult way to learn a new track and certainly an eventful weekend. This year will be like starting afresh. It is a difficult track, and I think there are many places where you can make mistakes. There are off-camber corners scattered through the track and for a driver thats not really the most comfortable thing. However, its the same for everybody and Im hoping that we can use Suzuka as a baseline for when we arrive in Korea then take the car out for the first time on Friday. From then we can just chip away at the time and get on target for qualifying and the race.
Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2010 Qualifying - 15th, 2010 Race - DNF
I have momentum and confidence behind me, but Im fully mindful that it will be a different proposition to Suzuka. Some of it is driven at high speed, but there are also a few second gear corners too, which our car wont be so keen on. It was quite a dirty circuit last year, but I expect that to be less of an issue this time around. We will collectively put our thinking caps on again to see how we can get the most from the weekend.
Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
I fully maintain that for Formula One to consider itself a global sport it needs to cross borders, and showcase itself in new territories. Korea joined the F1 calendar only last year and I was very pleased to see it put on a good show. Japan may well be well-established in the motorsport world but Korea is not, and the country deserves the chance to build its own brand in F1, too. I am looking forward to returning and seeing how the venue and organisation has progressed from last year.
James Allison, Renault technical director
The Korean International Circuit is not a track which favours any particular aspect of the car; its one where the entire package has to be maximised. Whilst there are long straights where a low drag package would be beneficial, there are sufficient corners to require higher levels of downforce for a quick lap. Interestingly, the track surface is very smooth and there are no notable bumps. Ally this with no kerbs of any stature and you can run the car very low. This could play to the strengths of our exhaust package as the potentially more constant proximity between car floor and ground should aid and assist hot air flow management. We run a similar level of downforce to that employed in Japan, however there are subtle yet pertinent differences. For example, DRS should be far more effective in Korea thanks to the long straights so we will give this aspect due consideration amidst our musings of wing angles.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT
2010 Qualifying - 18th, 2010 Race - 6th
For Korea we need to strike back a bit after encountering a couple of complicated races. We have to understand all the issues we had in Suzuka and try to put up a better fight with our main rivals. We still have four races to go and we have to keep on fighting. I finished sixth last year in Korea so Ive got good memories and I like the circuit quite a bit. Traction is a really important factor in Korea which is an area weve been struggling with, so hopefully we can have a trouble-free Friday and Saturday so that we can understand the set-up better. It wont be an easy end to the season but we have to keep our chins up.
Daniel Ricciardo, HRT
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
Korea will be another new circuit for me so that is something Im looking forward to, another new challenge. Speaking to some of the drivers who raced there last year they told me that it is quite a good circuit so Im sure I will like the track. After the qualifying session in Suzuka, my race engineer felt that we should have done more and we did so, personally, I feel we found something in Japan that we can put into next weekend. So I am hoping for a better weekend in Korea.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
"Last year the Korean Grand Prix was an unconventional one but hopefully this second event will go a lot smoother. The characteristics of the track, featuring the longest straight of the championship and its slow corners, won't suit our car much but we are hard workers and we will do our best to put in a fight. Daniel took a step forward in his F1 learning process in Japan and Korea, another track that he has never been at, will mean another challenge for him. And Tonio will be willing to put the Japanese Grand Prix behind and have a fruitful weekend. Like in Japan, Narain will be driving in FP1 instead of Tonio and he may be able to contribute to the team towards a positive result.
Paul Hembery, Pirellis motorsport director
Korea presents the super-soft tyres in particular with their toughest test of the year, but with the championship decided this is a valuable opportunity for us to try out some alternative nominations in order to have some more information for next year. Because of the abrasive surface and comparatively high lateral loading in Korea we might expect a higher number of pit stops than usual from the drivers basing their strategies around the softer tyre. Some may prefer to concentrate on the harder compound, so its going to be another very interesting race tactically. But all this speculation could come to nothing if it rains, which is quite possible too. Whatever happens, historically it will be an important event for us as its the first race we come to with a Pirelli-equipped Formula One world champion for more than 50 years.
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 9th, 2010 Race - 4th
"Visiting Korea for the first time last season was an interesting experience, and I enjoyed learning the new Yeongam track. It's a very impressive facility, and the track has enough challenges to make it enjoyable to drive. We also had a good result there as I equalled my best result of the season, finishing the race in fourth place. We have enjoyed some encouraging race finishes since the mid-season break, having worked hard to improve our performance. I hope we can carry that trend through to Korea this weekend and then to the remaining races."
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 5th, 2010 Race - DNF
"I'm looking forward to racing in Korea: I really enjoy the track and, for the first race last year, it was certainly a full house spectator-wise. I'm certainly aiming for a more successful weekend than last year, when I was taken out in an accident with Webber on the second lap at racing speeds after the safety car came in. We learned in Japan that our performance has taken a small step forward since Singapore. I hope we can make the next one this weekend."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"Having completed the weekend in Suzuka, the team has now packed up and headed to South Korea for the second leg of the season's final set of double-header races. The Korea International Circuit made its debut on the calendar last year, and the venue combines impressive facilities with an interesting and demanding track layout for the drivers and engineers. We delivered a strong race performance in Suzuka after not the smoothest of weekends, so our focus in Korea will be on getting the most of our current technical package and continuing our recent run of results."
Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"The Korea International Circuit at Yeongam presents a very complete challenge for the cars and the drivers: long straights in the opening sector, and then a much tighter second half of the circuit, which includes some blind corners and tricky, narrow sections between concrete walls. This contributes to making the average lap speed one of the lowest of the year for a permanent circuit, at around 205 km/h. Last year's inaugural race saw very challenging weather conditions and four safety-car deployments; although we hope for better conditions this year, there remains a reasonable chance of safety-car periods due to the limited run-off areas. Indeed, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG safety car has been deployed in each of the past four races. We enjoyed a stronger weekend in Suzuka and delivered quite a competitive team performance. Our challenge will be to perform at this level on a very different type of circuit and, as we have managed at three of the last four races, to finish in the points among the top three teams."
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - 12th, 2010 Race - 8th
The race last year was pretty difficult because the track was wet, had very low grip and very poor visibility. I like the track with its interesting layout. The high speed and medium speed corners should suit our car well. We know from last year that tyre management is crucial. I quite like the fact that Korea is so close to my home country. I hope the weather conditions will be stable this year and we will have an exciting race. With the aero update we introduced in Suzuka, we should be competitive, and Im confident that we can fight for points there.
Sergio Perez, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
I have not been to Korea before, and I have heard various stories from people in the paddock about last years race. I always like to get to know new places, which naturally is happening quite a few times this year because it is my first Formula One season. I have actually trained on the Korean track in the simulator. It has a lot of challenging high speed corners, and it is not an easy one to learn. In any case we have to use every chance to improve, and hopefully we can catch Force India in the championship.
James Key, Sauber technical director
We have got some quite good memories of Korea from last year. Its obviously a neat track. It took a bit of work with the very low grip levels on the very fresh tarmac, but, once the track rubbered in, it turned out to be a good circuit which the drivers liked. It seemed to be quite technical with two long straights, but then youve got the relatively winding sector towards the end of the lap, and then some high speed corners before the last straight. So its a really good mix of corner speeds that will probably require quite a different set-up compared to what we were using in Suzuka. Last year it was extremely wet, therefore we havent experienced a full race distance in the dry, so we dont fully know what to expect from the tyres, which will be the super soft and the soft compounds. We dont know how green the track will be in the beginning, so well have to see the track evolution during the weekend and try to allow for that. Concerning the car, we will continue to develop the package we introduced in Suzuka. Well have some small additional follow up development items for introduction in Korea. I hope we can carry on the momentum we found in Suzuka.
More to follow.
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