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Korea: Safety is paramount insist drivers

NEWS STORY
07/10/2010

Ahead of the FIA's final inspection of the Yeongam circuit in Korea, drivers have said that safety is paramount.

"Personally I believe that Charlie (Whiting) knows very well what makes a circuit safe or not," Nick Heidfeld, former leader of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, told Reuters. "There are very clear guidelines and I trust Charlie that if it is not good enough he will say 'No, we will not be racing'.

"If you would have an accident, and it is because the circuit is not ready, it would do a lot more harm to the commercial side than not racing. It would be a mess," he added.

"If the FIA approve the race, it is because it is safe to do so," said Williams veteran Rubens Barrichello. "If we would ever get to a place where we see that it is not safe, anything can happen. I'm not putting that as 'The drivers will go there and strike' because that's not the favoured thing to do... but it would be a huge mistake to say 'Yes, commercially we go there' and the track is not ready. I don't think they would ever let that happen, to be honest."

"It's a bit of an abnormal situation to go to a track where there have been no races and that one week ago was still not raceable," said Robert Kubica. "I just hope we will not have big problems there although I think laying down the Tarmac so late might create some. We will see... I think it is better to be prepared to expect the worst and then be surprised.

"I think Formula One has to go to Korea because Formula One cannot afford such a big flop such as cancelling the race two weeks before it," he added. "But definitely it is not a perfect situation."

Speaking at the official FIA press conference, Michael Schumacher said: "I guess we trust that the guys know exactly what they're doing, because there's a lot of experience how to build race tracks and I understand Hermann Tilke is involved in the project. We trust that it can all be achieved. I'm sure that they will put in maximum effort to make it happen."

"The pictures probably look more dramatic than it actually is," added Adrian Sutil, "but the FIA will for sure make sure that it's safe enough to race on, otherwise we won't be going there, so we trust them."

While Lewis Hamilton is clearly up for the event. "It doesn't really worry me from a safety point of view," he said. "I think the FIA always do a great job and they and the team clearly won't let us race if it was unsafe. I feel totally comfortable that everything will be done in order to keep us safe and therefore we can continue to race."

Whiting and his team are due to visit the Korean track on Monday, with a final decision expected within the following 48-hours. Ahead of that final inspection, the final layer of asphalt is being laid today (Thursday), raising concerns that it will not have cured in time for the race weekend which gets underway on October 22.

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