Who can win the Korean Grand Prix in “Yeongam” Style?
The 16th Formula 1 Grand Prix is going to Korea, the hometown of Gangnam Style. But the focus here is the exciting F1 race on the all-around technical circuit with a combination of both long straights and tight corners, together with the generally cold weather which provides a challenge on the brakes and tyres.
The race distance is 308.630 km on 55 laps around the circuit. The lap record 1:39.605 is set by Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull in 2011. It is quite likely to see a new record set by McLaren, Red Bull or Lotus this year before the change in engines starting from 2014. The track is not abrasive and should be at a low grip level. Going in Turn 1 and Turn 3, the drivers have to prevent the brakes from locking up due to heavy braking for the tight corners and the cars also require good traction when exiting. The circuit is very unique because Sector 1 is like a purpose built racing circuit while Sector 2 and 3 are like street circuit which is tight and twisty. The setup must be well balanced so that no time will be wasted at each sectors, straight-line speed and low-speed grip have to come to a compromise.
Pirelli will be bringing P Zero Red supersoft tyres and P Zero Yellow soft tyres to Korea because Korea has the highest lateral energy loadings of all the circuits. Two stop strategy is common in Korean Grand Prix due to the reasonable tyre wear, however, the cold weather may cause issues in warming up the tyres and brakes. There are quite a number of overtaking opportunities on the track particularly on Turn 1, 3, 4 and 10. Safety car is very likely to deploy so the strategy has to be flexible to take advantage of it.
After Alonso’s DNF in Japan Suzuka Circuit, Vettel is just 4 points behind him. Now there are 4 world champions which are in a solid battle for the title and Button & Webber may also be included in the title fight. This race is the most crucial race this season which may put Button and Webber away from the championship forever if they didn’t perform well or more accurately, a podium finish.
Lap Record : 1:39.605 – Sebastian Vettel (2011)