Ecclestone impressed by Korea Grand Prix progress

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The Independent Online

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone was all smiles following an inspection of the latest venue to join his sport's growing empire.

The Korea International Circuit was only granted a safety licence nine days ago, and cosmetic touches are today still being applied ahead of Sunday's inaugural Korean Grand Prix.

The Korean army have been drafted in to help with the completion of the erection of a number of grandstands that on Sunday will house a crowd between 90,000 and 100,000.

Ecclestone, though, always believed the organisers would deliver, and he is delighted with the end product.

"Considering what it was and what they've had to do, and this event has not been easy to do, I think they've done a good job," said Ecclestone.

"It's all there. If they hadn't have had their bad weather then it would have been done a long time ago.

"But I wasn't worried because I had some information they would get it done, and they've got it done.

"It would have been bad for Korea if it hadn't have happened, so they have made sure it happened.

"When you look at these facilities, and you look at some of the places we go to, and have been in the past, you can see what it took to build Formula One to what it is today."

One of the areas sorely lacking is accommodation with a number of less-than-salubrious motels being employed to house teams, media and fans.

That today prompted an apology from Chung Yung-cho, the CEO of organisers Korea Auto Valley Operations.

"For the last couple of months we have worked hard, day and night," said Chung.

"If you are not 100 per cent satisfied please accept my apologies. I will do better for next year.

"We will prepare more hotels and facilities. I can guarantee we will work harder and you will have better."

As mentioned by Ecclestone, the weather wreaked havoc on plans as the circuit should have been completed by the end of July, in line with FIA regulations.

It is why, 24 hours ahead of tomorrow's opening practice sessions, there remain teething problems.

Up until late last night, a number of teams had no electricity in the garages.

Park Joon-yung, governor of the Jeollanam-do province, said: "We are finishing the cleaning of the circuit, and the infrastructure will be done by the end of the day.

"We were planning to finish this project in late July, however due to bad weather it delayed us.

"In April and throughout the whole of July we had a massive amount of rain, which is unusual for Korean weather, so that led to the delays in construction.

"Thankfully the weather was helpful in September and this month and we were able to work day and night to finish the construction."