With the first media and team representatives starting to arrive at Korea in readiness for this weekend’s race, initial reports and pictures coming from Yeongyam are certainly mixed…
BBC F1 anchor Jake Humphrey described the Hermann Tilke-penned circuit as “far from finished”, while Blick’s Swiss reporter Roger Benoit was particularly scathing, describing the venue as one “enormous construction site”.
The reporter also wrote that the overhead bridge spanning the main straight is still littered with scaffolding, and added that: “Dominating the venue are the excavators, debris and waste”.
“I’m already looking forward to the final races in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi!” he mused.
Photos published by Lotus Racing from their track walk of the circuit (pictured above) show many of the finishing touches are still being done, with rolling machines still pressing the top surface of the recently-laid asphalt and with the starting grid slots still yet to be painted.
Some of the turf run-off areas are clearly in a poor condition, and the pit lane entry bears resemblance to a mud path.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport was also worryingly negative in its initial appraisal of the venue, with its journalist writing: “Only on Friday will we know whether the surface will withstand the stresses of Formula One cars.
“Everything on the sandy site is under construction. Next to the pitlane is a large pile of sand. Whoever didn’t know that F1 is running here in a few days would think it’s not happening until next year,” it added.
Swiss F1 commentator Marc Surer wrote in his column for Speed Week that some of the grandstand seating hadn’t even been installed yet.
“Much remains to be done, but as for the track itself, I am surprised that it is ready,” he wrote. “Whether it can withstand hours of practice and racing, however, is another question.”
[Original images via Lotus Racing]