Korean Grand Prix is off – but why was it ever on?
The brief reappearance of the unpopular race on the schedule may have been arranged to trigger change in the technical rules
The Korean Grand Prix, which appeared on an ofcial 2015 Formula 1 calendar despite nobody expecting it actually to take place, has now ofcially been removed from the schedule.
There was widespread surprise when the 2015 calendar published by the FIA World Motor Sport Council before Christmas included the race on 3 May – a week before the Spanish GP. Going from a long-haul ‘yaway’, where everything is in crates, to a European race, complete with motorhomes and trucks, in that time would have been a logistical nightmare greater than anything the teams have had to manage before.
The Koreans expressed surprise about the race, saying they knew nothing about it, that the original organising committee of the race in Yeongam had no money and that a long-hopedfor street race in Seoul could not possibly be made ready for 2015.
It all added up to a race that could never happen. So why did it appear on the calendar in the rst place?
The answer is that 2015 technical rules dictate that teams can use only four power units throughout the year – one fewer than in 2014. Renault, worried about the poor reliability of their engine last year, campaigned for manufacturers to be allowed to use ve again, but changes to the technical regulations requires unanimous agreement from all teams.
The rules dictate that if there are more than 20 races “as originally scheduled” then teams can use ve engines. The calendar published by the FIA in December could be argued to be ‘the original schedule’. Thus, with Korea added, teams would be allowed to use ve engines next year – even if the race never takes place.
The problem is that some teams have contracts with Formula 1 that dictate a maximum of 20 races, and some have argued that the ‘original schedule’ was the one published last September that did not include Korea. As F1 Racing closed for press, it was unclear which interpretation of the regulations would stand.
The Korean Grand Prix, which last took place in 2013, is unlikely to held again any time soon