Korean GP in jeopardy may be cancelled

Pit buildings from the main grandstand. Bernie Ecclestone visits Korean International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, April 2010.

Pit buildings from the main grandstand pictured in April

Jun.4 (GMM) Fears are growing that the inaugural Korean grand prix this October may have to be called off.

Although Bernie Ecclestone recently dismissed rumours that construction of the new Yeongam circuit might not be finished on time, political tensions between South Korea and the rogue North have been ramping up.

South Korea pointedly blamed the North for the recent sinking of a naval vessel that killed 46 sailors, and the North retaliated by threatening all-out war.

“If there is (war), we won’t be there obviously,” F1 chief executive Ecclestone told reporters in Turkey.

Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper cites sources as saying the political situation may already have further slowed down construction of the 5.62 kilometre circuit.

Amid the uncertainty, it is believed that the F1 teams association FOTA is not currently prepared to charter some of its equipment to Korea ahead of time if there is no guarantee of a race.

Moreover, it emerges that most teams have not yet booked airline tickets and hotel rooms for their staff, even though plans for the subsequent Brazilian and Abu Dhabi events are well advanced.

“This is a clear sign of how seriously they are worried about the possibility of cancellation,” said well-known Portuguese journalist Luis Vasconcelos.

If Korea is cancelled, there will be an extremely rare four-week break between the Japanese and Brazilian grands prix.