BBC BLOGS - Sarah Holt

Archives for October 2010

So far so good in Korea

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Sarah Holt | 09:06 UK time, Thursday, 21 October 2010

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Formula 1 is entering the unknown at this weekend's inaugural Korean Grand Prix and in recent weeks fears have been multiplying over just what lay ahead.

The fact that the Korean International Circuit was given the green light to host the event just nine days ago, after the top layer of asphalt had been laid, only added to those concerns.

But now the F1 community is actually here most of the worries are proving unfounded.

As one member of Team BBC succinctly said: "It's not as bad as we feared - but not as good as we'd hoped for."

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F1 drivers relish their greatest challenge

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Sarah Holt | 02:45 UK time, Saturday, 9 October 2010

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Lewis Hamilton found out during practice why taming Suzuka, the home of the Japanese Grand Prix, remains one of Formula 1's greatest challenges.

The 2008 champion's efforts to squeeze more out of his McLaren on this demanding track saw him bucked by the kerb at Degner Curve and thrown into the wall.

Almost 50 years after the track was designed by Dutchman John Hugenholtz, the location of the Japanese Grand Prix is still revered by the drivers as the definitive driving test.

Michael Schumacher - a six-time winner at Suzuka - broke into a smile as he said it was his 'highlight of the year', while Red Bull's championship leader Mark Webber called it 'a sensational, classic circuit'.

And the list of accolades being uttered by the drivers in Suzuka went on.

Suzuka's mass appeal lies in its high speeds and physical curves, which blend into a series of sweeping corners from the first turn through to the eighth - a section of the track known as 'the snake'.

After the two tricky Degner corners - where a number of drivers, including Webber, crashed last year - the cars dip under an overpass where F1's only figure-of-eight circuit crosses itself.

After a hairpin, it is then head for the famous 130R - the fastest corner of the circuit and similar in stature to Spa's Eau Rouge - at nearly 200mph.

"I'd say it's my favourite circuit because of the rush you get through the Esses and through 130R," says world champion Jenson Button.

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