Korean GP looks more like a fantasy fix

Thu Dec 4, 2014 7:29am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - The apparent return of the Korean Grand Prix next year may have more to do with engine regulations than any real intention to revive an unloved race and stretch the Formula One calendar to a record 21 rounds.

South Korea was the surprise inclusion on the calendar published on Wednesday, with the race subject to confirmation.

There was no Korean race this year, with local promoters chafing at the hosting fees while teams and sponsors were relieved to be spared the dubious delights of Mokpo in the country's far south.

If there is any serious intention for it to return, on the weekend before the first European race in Spain, then it will be a challenge for teams who have previously resisted stretching the calendar beyond 20 rounds.

It could also be tricky for Korean promoters, who have less than five months to get everything ready and sell tickets for the May 3 race.

But the immediate reaction to the news was one of scepticism with insiders pointing instead to the engine rules as the real reasons for the 'return', even if commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone may also have had contractual issues to address.

Article 28.4 of the 2015 sporting regulations stipulates that "each driver may use no more than four power units during a championship season", or one less than in 2014.

However the same article adds that "this number will be increased to five if the number of events in the championship, as originally scheduled, exceeds 20."   Continued...