Having sampled it in the simulator Lewis Hamilton says that the Korean GP venue will suit the strengths of the McLaren.
Intriguingly he added that the middle sector will “reward commitment,” implying that his press-on style could pay off, especially now that he has little to lose by taking risks.
“I’ve driven the Korean International Circuit on the simulator, and my first impressions were extremely positive,”said Hamilton in a team preview. “On paper, the track should suit our car quite well – the first sector is all about good end-of-straight speeds and strong performance under heavy braking, both key characteristics of our car.
“And the middle sector is fast and flowing; it’s the kind of place where you want a car with a good balance and good downforce. I think it’ll reward commitment – it actually feels like quite a nice driver’s track. The end of the lap is slower and tighter, but it’s still all about rhythm and flow – so, as long as the track surface is nice and grippy, I think we’re set for an enjoyable first race in Korea.
“I’m looking forward to the weekend – I think we can have a positive race. While recent results haven’t necessarily shown it, we’ve had a strong car – now I’m hoping to get the chance to prove it on track.”
Meanwhile Jenson Button said: “It’s always exciting visiting a new circuit for the first time. The Korean track certainly looks very interesting – a real mix of different characteristics – and there appear to be a couple of very likely opportunities for overtaking, particularly at the end of the three main straights, but possibly also off-line in the twisty final sector. The track looks quite high-speed, and the walls are close, so I think it’ll be an interesting challenge.
“As with any new circuit, it looks like it might throw up a few unexpected issues – not necessarily on the racetrack itself, but I’m sure the teams and drivers will work together with the organisers to make sure the event is a complete success.
“We’ve made some improvements to the parts we tested in Suzuka, and it’s looking likely that we’ll run the new parts on Friday in Korea. As with all our upgrades, we are pushing the envelope, so I’m optimistic that the tests will be positive and that we’ll be able to race the new components.”
Martin Whitmarsh says the team can still recover from recent frustrations and win the title: “With three races remaining, and 75 points on the table for the drivers, it would be unwise to write off Jenson, Lewis or Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Both drivers have won world championships before – they understand the difficulties of such a unique situation, and both have learned how to deliver their best under high pressure. They will be ready for this battle.
“And it’s a battle that will doubtless be won by consistency. While we will continue with our aggressive development strategy, bringing further new components to this race, we’re mindful of the need to bag points at every race. Nonetheless, we are committed to winning, and won’t give up without a fight.”