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Entries in race (5)


Race Review: Korean Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel at the driver's press conference following the Korean GP (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

// Korea

The writing is on the wall. The 2012 WDC is now down to a two-horse race after the Korean Grand Prix. Vettel and Alonso are now the frontrunners and will battle it out in the final four races for the title. Raikkonen, Hamilton, Webber and Button are now trailing far behind in terms of points, wondering what could have been and knowing what will never be.

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Mid-August Target for COTA

Circuit officials are meeting with Bernie Ecclestone this week in London to discuss progress at the facility.  According to Jonathan Noble of Autosport, several members of the executive team including President Steve Sexton, Executive VP Bruce Knox, Director of Racing Operations Chuck Aksland, and Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Geoff Moore.

Geoff Moore was quoted by Noble:

"The race is on. Construction is happening six days a week. The paddock buildings are being topped off, work on the main grandstand has started and we are looking at mid-August for completion."

Details about other discussions with Ecclestone have not been released, though the most promising news in this story is the mid-August target completion date.

The mid-August date gives a three month buffer before the scheduled Nov 18 USGP and an opportunity to hold other events at the circuit.  In presentations from COTA, they have spoken about programming at the circuit to include bike or foot races, smaller racing series, large scale conferences and live entertainment.  Details about such events have been relatively vague since the April 2011 press conference but are more likely to emerge over the coming months with this new target date. Without a doubt, there will be the need to hold an event of some kind before the first Formula 1 race.  I don't think anyone would expect the F1 race to be the first thing held at COTA so we'll have to wait to see what this event will be.

Mid-August is roughly 7 months from today, and though that might seem unattainable, with a 6-day crew going two or three shifts, it is possible.  Over the past month, the paddock building has completely transformed from a foundation into a three story building and the main grandstand foundation is going in as we speak.  Let's hope, for construction's sake, for another dry spring and summer.


Korean Grand Prix Recap

Upon wrapping up their second consecutive world championship title with three races remaining in the season, most drivers probably wouldn’t be racing the rest of the field so hard that they look like they’re still competing for the title.  One would also think that such a driver starting second on the grid Sunday will surely drive a bit more conservatively this weekend, trying to avoid the mayhem that inevitably ensues on the first lap while the drivers try to find their place.  But then, most drivers aren’t Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Renault.

About midway through the first lap, Vettel had already attempted two passing maneuvers on pole sitter McLaren-Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton - the second which paid off – and then opened a full 1-second gap at the start of lap 2.  By the end of the race he finished 12 seconds clear of 2nd place Hamilton, who struggled most of the race to keep at bay Vettel’s teammate, a quicker Mark Webber.  This battle for 2nd place was probably the most interesting one on the Sebastian Vettel took his rightful spot at the front of the pack mid-way through lap 1. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)track and resulted in Hamilton finished a mere 0.4 seconds in front of 3rd place Webber, who could not make a couple of passes on track stick.  The gutsy wheel-to-wheel driving didn’t stop there however, as McLaren-Mercedes’ other driver Jenson Button spent most of his race clawing his way back up to a 4th place finish, equaling his starting position on the grid.  He also spent much of the last half of the race fending off Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who finished 1 second behind.  Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa finished 6th.  Red Bull’s 1st and 3rd place finishes were also enough this weekend to secure their second consecutive constructors championship.

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