The new Korean International Circuit saw Formula One action for the first time today as the first two practice sessions got underway in Yeongam ahead of Sunday’s inaugural Korean Grand Prix.
After getting used to the layout in their early runs and assessing the grip levels of the newly-laid asphalt, Nico and Michael concentrated on developing the set-up of their cars over the two sessions, completing 50 laps and 51 laps respectively.
“The track is nice to drive and it should be good for racing with long straights and hairpins where you can try to overtake. The grip levels were fine after the first few laps and probably not as slippery as we expected. We did a good job with the set-up and the car feels pretty similar to the last few races so there are no particular issues to address. The tyre graining which we have seen today could create an interesting race. We’ll keep working to improve overnight and into qualifying tomorrow.”
“The track has been very good and I enjoyed driving it today. Of course a new track with totally fresh asphalt needs to rubber in but it got better and improved massively over the day. I am very pleasantly surprised with the circuit. It is very demanding, challenging and tricky which provides a challenge that I like a lot. It has been a good day for us and we have been able to do a lot of work on track. We look pretty reasonable in terms of speed and pace and my aim would be for the top ten in qualifying and to score points in the race.”
“We are all very pleased to see the cars running for the first time here in Korea today and credit to the venue for ensuring that everything was ready on time for the practice sessions. We’ve had a reasonable first day with the car looking particularly strong in the first sector where we showed good straightline speed. The grip levels came in quickly and positively over the day which helped. Everyone is finding that the tyres are struggling with graining on higher fuel levels, particularly on the option, but if the track continues to improve, that may ease. Overall we can be pleased with our start to the weekend.”
“A very interesting new track with a layout which is quite unique compared to other circuits. Sincere compliments to the organisers and the thousands of people who worked so hard day and night over the last couple of months to make this race happen. This is a very special new venue for Formula One and whilst every detail is not yet in place, everything will be even better for next year’s event. Our first sessions went quite well today and with our current technical package, we managed to be where we have been positioned in the last couple of races. I am sure the first Korean Grand Prix will be a thrilling race.”