Over the weekend, the always reliable Interwebs lit up with a report out of Germany that the construction of the Korea Grand Prix track — yes, another by Herman Tilke, which F1B took a look at a few weeks ago — was well behind schedule. German magazine Fokus (Focus) even claimed that Bernie Ecclestone had high-tailed it over to Korea after the Malaysian GP.
It sounded very sketchy, and F1B held off, although we did look into it. What we discovered was that it appeared the source for the Internet pick-ups (and, note, I don’t say the “original source,” that comes in a second) was Fokus Online, which had a brief article. It pointed to its own magazine as the “original source,” but the article was poorly attributed, to our eyes, at best. It cited Ecclestone as the source of the concern and then quoted Tilke airing some trepidation. It also quoted SID as a source, but we couldn’t find that wire piece after a pretty thorough look.
Without the benefit of the Fokus magazine in front of us, we held off.
Today, the story turns. Autosport has spoken to Korea Auto Valley Operation CEO Yung Cho Chung. He told the news organization that construction is ahead of schedule and there are zero concerns about being ready for the Oct. 24 race weekend.
“The construction progress for our circuit is well ahead of its schedule and we have absolutely no issues with completion,” Cho Chung said.
“I understand that Mr. Ecclestone is quite happy with not only the progress of the track but the direction the Korean F1 race is headed and he has raised no questions and concerns.”
So that is the latest and most reliable, news source-wise. The question though is whether Cho Chung is telling the full truth; it surely wouldn’t be the first time a business person, in or out of F1, fudged the truth. I’m certainly interested to see what Bernie has to say, but I also know that whatever he says can’t be trusted. He might talk to the BBC and say he is, yes indeed, concerned. But he’d be saying it to ring another 50 bucks out of the organizers.
Right now, let’s cautiously say there’s no fire in Korea. But, as with anything F1, there’s smoke. The question is: Who’s blowing it?