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.
The first Grand Prix was held at the track in 2010. The deal is for seven years, with a five-year option after that which would take the race until 2021.
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 inaugural Korean GP was run on October 24, the 17th of 19 events during the 2010 season after the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit.