Korean Grand Prix organizer Yung Cho Chung says he has no doubts that his event has a bright future after getting a boost from the government and a coveted award from the FIA.
Chung was in Monaco last weekend to collect his Race Promoters' Trophy at the FIA Prize Gala, awarded to him for the efforts that were made to get his grand prix track ready in time for last year's inaugural F1 race. The future prospects for Korea were further boosted by the event receiving major financial support from the national and local governments, with South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik having attended the race in October.
Chung said he was delighted with how things looked for the future – even as he admitted that things had not been ideal because of the delays in circuit construction for this year's race.
"It was really hard this year," he told AUTOSPORT. "I never thought about the prospect of delaying the race, but the weather was terrible. And then another bad thing was that the international media kept saying the race might not happen.
"So, on the one hand, I had to concentrate on the construction, and then there was a problem with the marketing side because people were trying to cancel tickets. But all that has gone now and I think next year will be great. This [race promoters'] prize encourages me for next year to do a better job.
"I did my best this year and I think the FOM and FIA realized that we worked so hard, and that is why they gave us this prize."
Chung said the feedback from the government after the race was hugely positive, and major financial commitments have already been made for the future.
"The central government did not realize how big the F1 was, but now they have realized – and the national assembly has already approved a major backing for next year. Also, local government has realized it is good for the economy, so there will be a lot more involvement from local and central governments for next year, with tourism and developing other areas. I really appreciate that they will now support it."
When asked about the areas that will be focused on for track improvements in 2011, Chung said: "We will complete the rest of the infrastructure and the grandstands will all be finished with their seats. We will try and put more trees and more grass there so it is a much nicer environment, and we try to make another road for traffic to get in and out. Everything will be better."
Chung added that at least two new hotels were scheduled for construction near the track, to help improve the accommodation options, and some changes were likely to be made to the track layout, too.
"I am still considering some modifications to Turn 17 and the pit lane in," he said. "This proved harder for the drivers than I thought, so I am working with the FIA now. I have discussed with Charlie [Whiting] and I think there will be some minor changes in that area."