Weâ€™ve all been making predictions and the fantasy F1 leagues have or are starting to pick the winners of this weekendâ€™s South Korean Grand Prix. As with many new circuits, itâ€™s a tough call on just who will do well and who may do not-so-well. There is one man who has driven the circuit and has a thing or two to say about this weekendâ€™s prospects so before you place your bets or pick your podium, perhaps you may spare a moment for recently-ousted HRT driver Karun Chandhok.
Chandhok drove a Red Bull car for a demonstration lap at the KAVO circuit a few weeks ago and has first-hand knowledge of its layout. While he was not driving in anger, he does feel the track may not be a forgone conclusion for Red Bull dominance. Chandhok told Reuters:
“It’s going to be very slippery, very low grip, I would imagine,” he told Reuters on Monday.
“The Red Bull is quick everywhere. But I think here, specifically though the first sector of the lap with the three long straights, they may not be as quick as some of the others. Ferrari and McLaren will be strong.
“Even if the Red Bulls qualify one-two, it will be interesting to see because of the long straights in sector one if they hold that advantage into turn four on the first lap.
“I do think the gap will be closer…I think the gap will be close enough that if (Ferrari’s Fernando) Alonso or (McLaren’s) Lewis (Hamilton) or Jenson (Button) dig deep they could sneak a win out of it.”
So there you have it, a sneaky win for Ferrari or McLaren? Thatâ€™s music to their ears as both squads need a win desperately to keep them in the hunt. Alonso, fourteen points adrift of Red Bullâ€™s Mark Webber, could certainly use the win to get to the top of the leader board but I think McLaren needs a win and some help from a faltering Ferrari or Red Bull. Perhaps an engine issue or DNF would be the thing the Woking team needs to see Lewis Hamilton back in the hunt.
So itâ€™s prediction time! Youâ€™ve heard Chandhokâ€™s warningâ€¦what do you think? Who will podium at the inaugural event in South Korea this weekend? Does Karun have a point on the long straights? That depends, in my mind, what the corners are like at the end of those straights. Tailing a Red Bull is one thing, getting around them is another and then you have the Webber factor which basically says you will not get around the Australian lest you like driving on the grass.