The Korean Grand Prix will take place later this month after the FIA gave the circuit a green light on Tuesday following two days of safety inspections.
Although the event has been surrounded by speculation for weeks that the venue would not be finished in time for the Oct. 24 race, FIA race director Charlie Whiting (ABOVE, walking the circuit with track president Yung Cho Chung) was happy with the progress that had been made. Whiting told race officials that he had seen enough at the track to convince him that he will issue it with the mandatory circuit license that it needs to host a Formula 1 race.
In a statement issued by race organizers, Whiting said: "It is satisfactory, and I will issue the license through (ASN) KARA."
Yung Cho Chung welcomed the FIA approval, and said he believed the grand prix would ignite huge interest in his country.
"We are delighted that all works are now finished to the complete satisfaction of the FIA, and we join the whole of Korea in welcoming the Formula 1 fraternity to the Korea International Circuit for the first time," he said. "The KIC has been constructed to the highest standards, and will become the epicenter of motorsport in the country. We believe the Korean Grand Prix will be the catalyst to ignite enormous interest in the sport across the nation."
Aerial photographs of the track this week showed that the final layer of asphalt had been laid, but that much of the infrastructure around the venue was not yet totally complete. F1 teams said at the weekend that they expected the race to go ahead, even though F1 commercial rights manager Bernie Ecclestone has expressed some reservations about it in Singapore two weeks ago.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "I think we have got to respect the fact that a lot of money has been spent, and a lot of effort put in, and I am sure the Korean nation will ensure that there is a grand prix."
Mercedes GP team boss Ross Brawn said: "As far as we know, yes it will happen. The final surface has been laid and they are finishing off the curbs and so on...I think the infrastructure will be a bit weak, but we want to race there and we need to do everything we can, as long as it is safe to race there."