Korea preview quotes - Marussia, Williams, Force India & more 10 Oct 2012
After all the excitement of Suzuka, the Formula One paddock barely has time to catch its breath before it heads straight to Yeongam for this weekends 2012 Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix. With a track combining sweeping curves, long straights and a tight and twisty street section, theres more than enough to please everyone. The teams and drivers look ahead to Korea
Timo Glock, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - 21st, 2011 Race - 18th
Every year this is a bit of a strange race weekend because the track is not used very often outside of Formula One. This makes it difficult on a Friday in particular as the track is always quite dirty and takes a while to come up to grip level. The weather can also be unpredictable, so the track condition can be a bit changeable also. Its quite a technical track with a lot of corners where you have to take quite a strange line. I had a good race here last year though, and also in 2010 until my race was cut short when I was taken out whilst on track for what would have been 12th place. I like the circuit so Im looking forward to the weekend and I hope we can get back to our usual two-car finish again.
Charles Pic, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
Japan ended in a disappointing way for me. With only a week between the two races, I have put that behind me and reset my mind to the Korean weekend. Ive had a few days in Tokyo to do some training and prepare for another new circuit and Im feeling good for the race ahead. From what I have seen of the track in simulation, it looks very interesting - especially sectors 1 and 3. Another anti-clockwise circuit also, which always adds an extra dimension in terms of the physical challenge. Most important now is keeping our focus and delivering our usual two-car finishes, so, as always, I will be playing my part in the teams objectives as well as I can.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
Timo had a very good race in Japan last week and has a good record here in Korea also, so lets hope that bodes well for our chances this weekend. In 2010 he was looking good for P12, mastering the treacherous conditions to put us in a vital position for the Championship. It would have been the teams highest finishing position that season, and indeed all the way up to Singapore this year, but unfortunately he was taken out. This just goes to show how important championship position is for the newer teams, and how hard it is to get there. Continuing - and indeed building on - our current positive performance level is our absolute focus now to give us a greater degree of comfort as we count down the last five races. Also important is getting back to our normal record of two-car finishes. Charles was doing a very solid job in the race last weekend, so it was a shame that he had to retire. His track position ahead of Vitaly [Petrov] shows how much he has developed in line with the performance of the car and we are fortunate to have two highly competitive drivers to continue to help us achieve our team objectives.
Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2011 Qualifying - 16th, 2011 Race - DNF
The Korean International Circuit is not a typical track for us but it is one of the newest and were enjoying racing there. We aim to be competitive and will be working to adapt the car set-up to this low grip track. There is a good combination of corners and the last sector is a medium speed flowing sequence which is very technical. I look forward to getting there and having a great race.
Bruno Senna, Williams
2011 Qualifying - 15th, 2011 Race - 13th
The Korean Grand Prix is different to other races. It's a high downforce circuit so should suit our car. Its also one of the tracks we have the least amount of practice on as it is fairly new to the calendar and therefore we havent had any running in our simulator, so it will be interesting to see how we get on. Theres a mix of high speed corners with lower speed technical sections. Well need to work very hard to score some good points.
Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
After a disappointing qualifying in Suzuka both drivers demonstrated very good pace in the race, with Pastor securing a solid 8th place. We now move onto Korea looking to capitalise on this pace and therefore need to ensure a better qualifying result. The 55 lap Korean race will be run using the soft and supersoft tyres, as per Monaco, Canada and Singapore. This is a medium to high speed circuit with a smooth track surface. In previous years we have seen a large grip evolution throughout the sessions and one should expect the same this weekend. With this large amount of evolution it is important to ensure that both cars set-up also evolves with the circuit so track time is therefore very important. Currently the forecast is predicting a dry weekend.
Remi Taffin, head of Renault Sport F1 track operations
Korea is pretty much in the middle of the table for engine challenges. The first sector has three long straights linked by either sharp hairpins or right angled, slow speed corners. Since a high percentage of this is taken at full throttle, well be working on providing good top speed, but also optimal engine braking and traction in the heavy braking zones of turn one and three. The second sector is reminiscent of Suzuka, with fast flowing turns leading into the final, slower sector, which represents a technical challenge to both engineers and drivers alike.
Paul di Resta, Force India
2011 Qualifying - 9th, 2011 Race - 10th
You never know until you get there and start running, but last year we had a good race and came away with some points. The first sector of the lap is mainly long straights linked by low-speed corners and those technical parts of the lap seem to suit us as was the case in Singapore. Also, its just one of those tracks that I enjoy driving and Im looking forward to getting the weekend underway.
Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
I enjoy visiting Korea and the track is fun to drive. I didnt drive there last year during free practice, but I have some good memories from 2010 with Williams when I scored a point in the very wet race. I think we can go there and get a good result because its a track thats a mixture of everything: low-speed, high-speed and straights. The final sector feels just like a street circuit and its quite technical with some challenging corners.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 2nd, 2011 Race - 1st
In principle, the track is made up of two parts: a permanent race track and the end, which is more like a street circuit although were not in the city. The track is located on the western edge of the province of Yeongam, which is in the far south of the country. The circuit is demanding and the last section is very tight.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 4th, 2011 Race - 3rd
The Korean circuit is like a fast Budapest. It has long straights early in the lap; I had a good fight there with Lewis last year, which I enjoyed. The last two sectors are very busy with lots of corners. Generally it can be a little bit cold there, so we'll see what that throws up to us in terms of the tyres. As always, well be looking for a good result.
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 12th, 2011 Race - DNF
Korea is one of the more recent additions to the Formula One calendar, and that's still reflected in the fact that we don't get too many fans at the race. It's a pity, because the circuit layout makes for good racing, but I think the situation is improving each year. It's a very challenging track and well designed, which lots of the drivers enjoy. The basic characteristics should be more favourable for us than in Japan, so we're heading to Korea in a positive mood.
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 7th, 2011 Race - 8th
It's good that we have a back-to-back race this weekend, so I have the chance of a better result within seven days. I think the recent updates on our car will be better suited to this circuit, so I hope we can make a step forward performance-wise. I enjoy the circuit a lot and I am excited to get to Korea after following the new Gangnam craze on the internet in the last few months. When I have some time away from the car and engineering meetings, I'm definitely looking forward to his performance this weekend.
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
After the race in Japan on Sunday, the team headed straight to Korea to begin our preparations for the back-to-back weekend. Although we had a challenging time at Suzuka, we were able to learn quite a lot about the car and its performance which has provided some good data to look through this week before the next race gets underway. The track at the Korean International Circuit is an interesting one, with a much slower layout than many of the tracks that we visit. The sport is still very new in Korea but we hope to see the interest continue to grow this year.
Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
Looking to this weekend in Korea, the circuit has a very different character to Suzuka - the Yeongam circuit features many more slow corners, with six of them taken below 100 kph, which is particularly slow for a Formula One car. The Suzuka weekend showed that, at such a challenging circuit, there are several different teams within a few tenths of a second in terms of race performance. Our task in Korea is to ensure we return to a level that will allow us to achieve better starting positions than in Suzuka, so that we can target better results in the race.
Pedro de la Rosa, HRT
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
"I know very little of Korea because Ive never run there, all I know of the circuit is from my work on the simulator. As its a track thats barely used the surface is very slippery. So weve got no time to lose and will have to do as many laps as possible to get to know the track. It should be a circuit thats better suited to us than Suzuka. Also, after having seen that in Japan the new floor is an evident step forward, Im really looking forward to it. But theres no doubt that we have a lot of work ahead.
Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
"From what Ive seen the Korea International Circuit is very complete as it is a mix of various things such as very close walls, quick corners, long straights and hairpins. Ive never raced there so Ill have to make the most of my time on track to adapt and set the car up. After having retired in two consecutive races Im looking forward to this Grand Prix and hoping to find some luck again and return to a positive line of results.
Dani Clos, HRT reserve driver
"Driving the F112 is always a great satisfaction and I feel very lucky and thankful to the team for this new opportunity they have given to me to drive in the first free practice session in Korea. Like always, Im going to give my 100% and my main objective is to work for the team to complete the established programme in the best way possible. To be able to contribute, even in a modest way, makes me very proud and, personally, its an experience that is helping me to grow as a driver. And even more so having someone like Pedro next to me.
Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"Just like the drivers I dont know the Korea International Circuit but what I do know is that were arriving in good form and aiming to progress as we did in Suzuka. The important thing will be to adapt as soon as possible to optimize our set-up without losing any time. Due to its characteristics, its a track where we should perform well, so well work as hard as we can to maintain and improve our competitiveness. Were not lacking any determination or motivation. Im happy to be giving Dani another opportunity and for him to contribute to Pedro and Narains important work on the F112.
Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
Ive never been to Korea, but it doesnt make a difference for me. Since I was very young I have always been able to pick up circuits very quickly. This has not changed. Its always interesting to race at a new venue and I enjoy going to different places. It gives me a good feeling. It is exciting to be going there for the first time and to start work by walking around the circuit and checking all the corners. Ive seen a Korean Grand Prix on TV, but well have to wait until the first laps of FP1 on Friday to get to grips with the circuit. Hopefully we will have normal weather there and will not miss any track time on Friday because of rain or technical issues. I will approach Yeongam the same way I approach every race - with the intention of going there to do my very best.
Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
Seoul was very nice when I visited it last year; its a fascinating combination of Asian culture with some European flavour too. The circuit is quite remote and its a very different part of Korea from Seoul. Its certainly a different experience from that of many other Grands Prix. The track looks to be a good challenge and its going to be great to be racing in front of new fans for Formula One. I do like travelling and seeing new fans. Weve just left Japan where the supporters are very enthusiastic; they even gave me a flag signed by many people which was really nice. In Korea Formula One is new so its fascinating seeing the sport grow and meeting new followers.
Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
Every time you bring new developments you hope that they will work as predicted. The upgrades for Korea are a big step; it is the opening of a new era for us. We expect that they are going to work, but of course its always a difficult task to find the correct setup for the car when you are also evaluating new parts. What happened with our DDRS shows that you cant take any improvement for granted until you actually measured it on the track. Lets say that we are cautiously optimistic.
James Allison, Lotus technical director
Its a bit like Germany. The first part of the circuit is largely straights and sweeping curves and the second half a series of slower speed corners. It averages out as a fairly ordinary type of track with slightly more overtaking opportunities than average. The weather may be a little cooler than we would ideally like it, but we are expecting a good weekend.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Were bringing the same tyre nominations to Korea as we did last year, which at the time was seen as quite a bold choice because Korea has the highest lateral energy loadings of all the circuits where we use the super-soft tyre. In the end, we saw the super soft lasting for 10 laps or more and the soft lasting for 20 laps or more, enabling a two-stop strategy for the majority of the drivers. This year, however, all our Formula One tyres are softer apart from the super soft, which has remained the same. We should see another two-stop race this year, which in theory should be even faster. This year though, there have been some changes to the aerodynamic regulations, which have generally slowed lap times down over the course of the season. Strategy played a key role in last years race but there was also a safety car and some rain at the start of the weekend. So Korea is the sort of circuit where anything can happen, and as always the teams with the most data and the ability to adapt that information to rapidly changing circumstances will be the most successful.
Jaime Alguersuari, Pirelli test driver
Korea is one of my favourite tracks, especially because I had one of my best results there last year when I passed Nico Rosberg on the last lap to finish seventh. I really like the track: the layout is fantastic and I actually think it is one of the best layouts on the Formula One calendar. It is a mixture of high- and medium-speed corners and the downforce level of the car is not so high. It is also very smooth and has some good places to overtake. From a tyre point of view, the circuit is easy on the tyres because the weather is usually quite cold and humid. We had two stops last year, and degradation will be low, so I think it should the same this year. There are three heavy braking areas on this circuit and it will be a fantastic race to watch: South Koreas circuit has the potential to provide a perfect Formula One show.
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - 14th, 2011 Race - 15th
Last year Korea was an extremely difficult race, because we were significantly too slow. But this is the past and things are looking much better now. We can build on the momentum we have and, therefore, Im confident this time we can score points. We have to expect the track to have a low grip level, especially in the beginning, but this will change during the weekend. Once the track is rubbered in some high-speed sections combined with slower corners are fun to drive. I think our car should be competitive on this track.
Sergio Perez, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - 17th, 2011 Race - 16th
The track layout in Yeongam is quite challenging. There are some high-speed corners and in general the circuit has quite a variety of corners. Therefore it is not easy to find a good rhythm but this is crucial for a good lap time. In Suzuka our car had a very good pace and I hope we can keep the momentum for the next round in South Korea. However, because we are usually lacking a bit of straight-line speed, it wont be an easy Grand Prix for us. I will give my very best and I definitely want to make the most out of the remaining races I compete in for the Sauber F1 Team.
Giampaolo DallAra, Sauber head of track engineering
The Yeongam circuit is a modern race track which has a bit of everything. The first sector has three straights with two sharp corners in between and also a low-speed section with tight corners at the end. Then the second sector features medium to high-speed corners before going back into a twisty sector three. The tarmac is not abrasive and the allocated Pirelli tyre compounds are soft and super soft, which I think should fit. However, the grip build up is rather slow during this race weekend because there are almost no support races on the programme. With regard to our possibilities, overall it should be an average circuit for us with the first section being the difficult one. The C31 will obviously be running with the new components we introduced in Suzuka but, given it is a back-to-back event, wont have any further updates.
Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 19th, 2011 Race - 14th
The start / finish straight is pretty short and then its into the second-gear Turn One. Its very tight and you need a good exit to make sure you go onto the first long straight with as much speed as possible, using KERS to really push you out of the corner and towards T2. Braking into Turn Three is pretty straightforward - its another second-gear corner and you want to come out of there with as much speed as possible so youre using another big chunk of KERS and DRS to power your way out.
Turn Four is almost 180 degrees so its down to second or even first gear, depending on the balance of the car. If you have a really strong front end you may be able to get through in second, otherwise you need first. Turns Five and Six are a bit fiddly, still in second, but then the speed builds as you go uphill through Turn Seven and you stay flat out through Eight. Its a really quick section of the track, you lift a little in Nine, carrying as much speed as possible as you very quickly arrive in the braking zone for Turn Ten.
For Turn Ten you go quickly down through the gears to first and its not so important to get on the power early, its more about carrying speed through the middle and exit of the corner and then its on to Turn 11, a double-apex left which you go into in fourth and then flick down to third as you head towards Turn 12.
12, 13 and 14 are a sequence of right / left / right corners, all medium speed, third or fourth gear and you need to make sure you have the right line out of them for turn 15. 15 and 16 are almost one corner but you have to avoid a pretty heavy kerb in 16 so you can get on the power and stay on it through 17 and 18 and back on to the start line.
Vitaly Petrov, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 8th, 2011 Race - DNF
I like Korea. The first time it was on the calendar was in my first year in F1 and when I got there I was really surprised to see so many Russian flags in the stands. It was the same in 2011 and Im sure itll be like that again in 2012 and its always good to race in front of so many fans from home.
The track itself was a pretty tricky one to learn when I first went out on it in 2010. There are a few blind apexes and correct gear selection is really important to get the quickest lap times, but now weve done a couple of races there we know what direction we need to take on setup so we can get on with it as soon as we arrive.
In the race itself theres a strong chance of safety cars during the race, both races so far have seen safety cars, so we need to be prepared for that. We know we dont yet have the pace to really fight with the cars ahead but we need to be ready to take advantage of whatever happens in front of us, and perhaps this is the sort of race where we can do that.
Giedo van der Garde, Caterham test driver
Im looking forward to my second FP1 in a row in Korea after driving the first Friday in Suzuka. The Korean track is another new circuit for me so Ive spent quite a lot of time at home on my own simulator to get used to the layout but you never really know what its like until you actually get on track.
It looks like its a pretty technical circuit and one that will take a few laps to find all the right braking points and apexes, especially as a couple of the corners are blind, but itll be fine. The plan for Korea is the same as Suzuka - run through the program, minimise the mistakes and get the job done for the team.
Jenson Button, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 3rd, 2011 Race - 4th
We had a strong race in Japan, now I hope we can take maintain that momentum through practice, qualifying and the race next weekend. The Korean International Circuit is quite a demanding place - every time you feel youre settling into a rhythm, the track changes direction quite unexpectedly. It doesnt have a flow of some of the other new modern facilities weve been to in recent years, such as the Buddh International Circuit or Istanbul Park. The first sector is comprised of long straights: Turns One, Three and Four are all preceded by big braking zones and require good traction at their exits. The final sector is much slower - it almost feels like a street circuit - and, again, it compromises that feeling of flow that youre looking for throughout the lap.
I didnt have a great race here back in 2010, but things were better last year - I finished fourth, although it was still the only circuit in the second half of the season at which I didnt appear on the podium. Our pace in recent races has been consistently strong, so that makes me feel confident that I can secure my best-ever result there next weekend.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 1st, 2011 Race - 2nd
The car that I ended the race with in Japan felt great - and Im confident that well kick off the race weekend in Korea with a strong package. I put the car on pole there last year. That was a very significant moment for me - Id been trying so hard all year to get a pole, and it took everything I had to get the best out of the car. It was a huge effort, and a bit overwhelming at the time. In the race, unfortunately, we just didnt have the pace to stay with Sebastian [Vettel] in the Red Bull - he was able to dive past me and pull away. I still managed to finish second, though: it was an unbelievably tough race - I had a handling problem because the front wing was clogged up with tyre debris, so I had to try everything to keep Mark [Webber] behind me.
I think weve had the potential to win both Korean Grands Prix in the past, but Ive never had a race weekend there on which everything has gone quite right for me. Weve got momentum on our side once again, so I head to Korea determined to fight for victory.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
The Korean Grand Prix is still very much a new venue for Formula One, and I hope that the third edition of the race will help further to cement our sports reputation in a country that clearly embraces high technology.
In many ways the circuit is one of the most impressive facilities we visit all year. The track configuration has been supremely well designed to generate good and close racing - something we witnessed with some degree of tension last year as Lewis valiantly battled to keep himself ahead of Mark Webber. In fact, Lewis used every trick in the book - and a few more! - to finish a brilliant second.
The result in Suzuka showed that anything can still happen in this world championship. Im still convinced that we can fight for, and win, both titles in 2012 - and we head to Korea determined to narrow the gap to the top in both world championship points tables.
More to follow.
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