Renault Sport press release
Renault Sport F1 Preview to the Korean GP
12 October 2011 – Just one week after the Japanese Grand Prix comes round 16 on the 19-event calendar, the Korean Grand Prix. The race is held at the 5.615km Korean International Circuit in the South Jeolla province, some 400km to the south of South Korea’s capital, Seoul. The track was constructed as part of an ongoing plan to energise the industrial area, with the circuit a semi-permanent facility that will eventually be incorporated into a new city. Used for the first time last year, the Korean track delivered a fascinating Grand Prix due to the changeable weather and grip conditions. Korean Grand Prix facts and figures
We’re all really looking forward to getting to Korea after such a fantastic race in Japan.
- Korea sits in the middle of the power-driveability ratio and engine requirements are similar to those required for Australia; good driveability through the medium to low speed corners, responsiveness out of the slower chicanes and hairpins, with a good top end power for the three long straights.
- Like Malaysia and Turkey, the pit straight is not the longest straight on the Yeongam circuit. In Korea, this honour falls to the straight between turns two and three. At 1,150m, the engine will be working at maximum revs and at top speed for approximately 15s.
- The heavy braking zone at the end of this straight is the precursor to another straight leading to turn 4. This next straight is shorter at 560m and the engine will be at full revs for roughly 8s. This means that some 80% of the first sector is taken at full throttle.
- The remainder of the circuit after the three straights is a combination of second, third and fourth gear corners taken at an average of 215kph. The point-squirt nature of this section means that fuel consumption is very high over one lap.
The drivers’ view
Bruno Senna, Lotus Renault GP
Although my memories of Korea are not great; I had suspension failure in practice and then I had a very difficult race with the rain, safety car and then the red flag, this year will be like starting afresh. You can divide the circuit roughly in half.
The first part from the start-finish line has the three long straights so it’s all about good top speed, but also getting the braking right. At this point you need good engine braking but also a solid responsiveness and pick up from the engine for maximum acceleration. The second part of the track requires a very smooth approach as several of the corners flow into each other and there are off-camber corners scattered throughout so through this section you need the engine to be driveable.
We know this is one of the strengths of the Renault engine, and Japan showed we’re pretty competitive in medium to high downforce configuration so we should be strong again, and our car should be in the top 10 all the way to the end of the season.
The engineers’ view
Head of Renault Sport F1 track operations Rémi Taffin gives his thoughts on Korea:
The Korean International track is pretty much in the middle of the table for engine challenges. The first sector has three long straights linked by sharp hairpins or right angled, slow speed corners. Since a high percentage of this part is taken at full throttle, we’ll be working on providing good top speed, but also optimal engine braking and traction in the heavy braking zones of turn one and three. This is really important as a lot of lap time can be won by having strong pick up and responsiveness to carry speed on the exit onto the next straight. A good seventh gear ratio is also crucial to maximise acceleration.
In terms of the demands it puts on the engine, this section isn’t massively demanding as the second straight between the second and third turns is over a kilometre long. The second part of the track is where we need to focus on delivering driveability through the medium to low speed corners.
We’re all really looking forward to getting to Korea after such a fantastic race in Japan. Sebastian sealed the title with an impressive performance over the weekend, while Red Bull edged closer to the constructors’ title. Team Lotus also had its most competitive race to date, finishing on the lead lap and at times matching the midfield for pace. Lotus Renault GP weren’t able to capitalise entirely on its strong qualifying performance but we’ve seen the pace is there.