Formula 1 teams are now fully expecting the Korean Grand Prix to go ahead in a two weeks' time, despite doubts earlier this month that the event would happen.
In the wake of comments from Bernie Ecclestone made at the Singapore GP suggesting that there was a chance the new Korean venue would not be ready in time, teams were unsure about the status of the event. However, with Korea organizers having made good progress with the track – and pictures taken this weekend showing how ready the venue is – teams admit their doubts have been eased.
A final decision on the Korean GP venue will be made at the start of next week when FIA race director Charlie Whiting is set to complete a pre-race safety inspection.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "On Monday, the FIA are going to Korea to do their circuit inspection. Of course, by the time they get there we will have shipped our cars and equipment to Korea, so it is pretty late. 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.
"It is worrying that it is this late and worrying to think it is new asphalt but it is the same for everyone. We are planning to be there, we would like there to be a Korean Grand Prix and we want there to be four more grands prix to decide this championship. So from McLaren's perspective we very much hope it will happen, we believe it will and we are planning on this basis."
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. The FIA is due there on Monday and Tuesday and everyone seems confident it will happen. 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."