by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 191
23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: OPINION A Korean Grand Prix virgin walking into the KIC surrounds with unjaded wonderment is probably akin to a never-seen-action private who has overzealously wandered into a platoon poker game – it’s definitely bound to raise a few dulled eyebrows. If I appeared slightly jejune on my first day in Korea, it certainly wasn't fabricated. Don't worry, I was made acutely aware by journalists who'd gone before me that I could find myself incommunicado in a remote flophouse, fighting off an onslaught of fallen women and wharfies trying to drag me into a Tom Waits potboiler. Only then, if I indeed managed to drag myself from the carousel of debauchery via the low wetlands surrounding the Korean International Circuit, I was informed I could only hope to see a processional exhibition of Formula One machinery with very little sporting endeavour on offer. At least that's what I was led to believe. What I did find was a brilliant little town with a lot of character giving their very best to embrace what is in reality a very hard event to promote. While the main drag in Mokpo is a slight hike to the Yeongam circuit, the trek is not unlike the kind you might face commuting to a V8 Supercar round in rural Victoria, Australia - an event that engenders massive support and enthusiasm among locals. Even walking the streets for a meal at night in Mokpo, you notice pockets of F1 people congregating in corner restaurants chewing over the day's events; an old school racing culture that doesn't really seem to happen when there are other distractions around. There are very few major franchises in the city of Mokpo, and as a result retains a unique identity amongst counterparts that have been engulfed by Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds and Starbucks. Yes there is a seedy side to the town, but look hard enough anywhere and you'll probably find the same thing. Imagine Austin, Texas with a language barrier and you'd probably understand what I'm talking about. The people of Mokpo are first class. Never have I been anywhere where people are so eager to help without a sales pitch attached. The only time you do get approached is when you look completely at sea; much like today when my media centre internet access had forsaken me. No sooner had I pulled the archetypal dumbfounded Westerner face, when no fewer than five computer boffins had commandeered my laptop and rectified the problem within minutes. Everyone at the circuit and wider Mokpo area tries ridiculously hard to make the event work. Even the food upon arrival was hands down better than the solid nourishment offered up at so called more 'prestigious' events on the F1 calendar. As a consequence, I couldn't help feel a little sheepish about the way the race is portrayed by the media. If you were weighing up going to Mokpo, then the image of being violated by a hollow-horned mammal (as popularized by some journos) wouldn't exactly encourage you to slap your hard-earned down for a ticket now would it? If you're not a Jerry Bruckheimer fan, then marshlands and shipyards might not provide the aesthetic scrim you're after, but to my left right now is the kind of panorama that used to sell Marlboros by the truckload. I'm no television producer, but the slightly pedestrian images that are beamed out to Formula One's fan base could be a lot more creative in terms of selling the event. The Korean Grand Prix is different. And that's a blessing, not a curse. With new circuits becoming more and more identikit Tilke-dromes, Korea provides a refreshing change from the norm. It's challenging, the drivers enjoy it and if it's a bit of a traipse to get there than so be it. Club racers travel longer by road just for half a weekend of racing at their own expense. The biggest criticism I've heard of the circuit is that it hasn't changed since its inception in 2010. Great! Glad I haven't missed much. OPINION TRENT PRICE Race Editor LIKE A vIRGIN