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Formula One Korean Grand Prix Preview

 
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McLaren at the 2013 Formula One Korean Grand Prix

McLaren at the 2013 Formula One Korean Grand Prix

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Only two names have ever appeared on the winner’s trophy for the Korean Grand Prix and this weekend at the Korean International Circuit in Yeongam, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel will again be locked in combat as the 2013 Formula One season reaches the home stretch.

The circuit in Yeongam, one of seven tracks on this year’s calendar to have been designed by German architect Hermann Tilke, was built in 2010 and stretches 3.5 miles in length. The first half of the track contains several high-speed corners and a 0.75-mile straight, while the end of the lap is tight, twisty and lined by walls.

Car setup is a compromise between straight-line speed and low-speed grip. One factor is the track being barely used throughout the year, meaning drivers will likely be presented with a slippery surface this weekend. October is also the rainy season in Korea so teams should be expecting to use their rain tires at some point during the next 48 hours. The current forecast is a chance of rain for Sunday’s race.

For this race, Pirelli has brought its P Zero White medium and P Zero Red supersoft: a change from last season when the tire company brought the soft and supersoft. The more durable Medium compound is likely to be the better race tire, but the Supersoft rubber will give the cars more grip over one lap in qualifying.

Going into the weekend, Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel sits atop the Drivers’ Championship ladder with 247 points. Next on the ladder is Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with 187 points followed by Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton with 151 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing commands 377 points versus the 274 points of Ferrari and the 267 points of Mercedes AMG.

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