The 3.49 mile (5.62 km) Korea International Circuit is located in Yeongam, South Jeolla, South Korea, 250 miles south of Seoul and near the port city of Mokpo.
The event is the result of a deal between Bernie Ecclestone and the Korean F1 promoter Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO - a joint venture between M-Bridge Holdings and Jeollanam-do regional government).
Hermann Tilke was given the responsibility of the design of the track which is part permanent, part temporary. The temporary part races along the harbour side of the province where spectators from the promenade, hotels and yachts can view the race. Part of the city with possible exhibition facilities, shops, restaurants and cafes are utilized for the pit lane during the F1 Grand Prix weekend.
It was announced in September 2009, that the funding was in place to start construction at the site, and officials were confident the work would be completed in time to hold a Grand Prix in 2010. On December 10, 2009, the organisers of the event announced that they were on schedule, with a plan to finish the circuit on July 5, 2010, though they admitted that their largest problem lay in finding accommodation for all the Formula One staff and spectators. The organisers also ruled out the possibility of staging the race at night until they have more knowledge of and experience in running a Grand Prix.
In the midst of speculation that the race would be aborted because the circuit would not be completed in time, organisers for the race announced the circuit's opening date to be September 5.
On September 4, in an event called 'Circuit Run 2010', a Red Bull show car using a V10 version of the current Renault engine, with Karun Chandhok at the wheel, completed 14 laps of the all new circuit. Four thousand spectators travelled to the new track for the event.
The final track inspection was delayed multiple times. Originally, the FIA technical delegates were due to inspect the circuit on 28 September in order to grant permission for F1 races to be held there, however the date was later moved to the 11th October, only 11 days before the cars were scheduled to start first practice. Following a two-day track inspection, FIA race director Charlie Whiting described the Yeongam circuit as 'satisfactory' and announced the mandatory license would be issued through the Korea Automobile Racing Association (KARA).
The first Grand Prix was held at the track on 24 October 2010. The deal is for seven years, with a five-year option after that which would take the race until 2021.
High braking demands in the latter part of Turn 1 can potentially make life difficult for the drivers at the start of the race, when the cars are at their heaviest and tyres at their coolest.
Over 185 mph is reached on the approach to Turn 3 before heavy braking into this tight right-hander. Higher speeds could be attained on this long straight, however wing levels required for the remainder of the lap mean that maximum velocity is constrained by drag and gearing.
More heavy braking demands between Turns 4 and 6 after a significant straight leading into the slowest section of the track, where good low speed change of direction and mechanical grip are required.
Turns 7 to 13 are quite long, sweeping corners, relying on good downforce and balance from the car. Turn 8 is the fastest point - taken at almost 185 mph - before heading to the slower Turns 9 and 10. Overall quite a satisfying section of race track for the drivers.
Good change of direction is again required from the car through this sequence - which bears a striking resemblance to Valencia - with the walls being close enough to punish any mistake. Turn 17 is particularly important, requiring good exit speed heading on to the start/finish straight.