Practice pacesetter Mark Webber said the Korean Grand Prix organizers had done a "remarkable" job with the Yeongam track and should receive no criticism for their efforts.
The race was in danger of being canceled amid fears that the circuit would not be ready in time, but it was given the green light for its inaugural Formula 1 race to go ahead, and today's opening practice sessions ran largely smoothly, despite much of the off-track infrastructure being far from complete. Webber said he was entirely satisfied with the track.
"Yeah, it is pretty enjoyable," said the Red Bull driver. "It has got a couple of unique sections which are always good, it's nice to have a bit of a challenge at a new venue we go to. Just the pit lane entry and exit are a little bit 'Mickey Mouse', getting on and off the track, but apart from that they have done a remarkable job. We are really clutching at straws to be able to try and criticize anyone here."
He admitted that conditions on the dusty track had been treacherous at first, but felt this was no major drama.
"The track changed a lot today," Webber said. "It was obviously a brand-new venue for everyone as we all know, and very, very slippery in P1. Then, it started to get a little bit more sensible as the day went on, so same for everyone.
"We have to keep chipping away and doing what we can with our program and working on our car, so all in all a positive day, the car ran well, there is a lot of information to gather on a new venue and we have done that pretty successfully so yeah, we are pretty optimistic with today's performance and getting ready for tomorrow now."
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was also impressed with the layout and believes it will create an entertaining race as the tires will struggle to stay in shape.
"The circuit is good," said Rosberg. "It is a nice track to drive and it should be good for racing because there are long straights and hairpins where you can try and overtake, but on the other hand there is a lot of graining and whenever we have graining, that is normally when the most exciting races happens because if the guy in front gets it and you have a bit less then you have a chance to overtake, so from that point of view it could be a good weekend."
Rosberg said people shouldn't overdo it, though, reckoning it would be excessive to place Yeongam among the absolute top circuits in F1. Asked if he rated it as designer Hermann Tilke's best track, Rosberg replied: "I wouldn't say one of the best, no, but it is a good circuit. Best is something like Sepang; that's are really a special track. But this is a good track."