- Life Through a Lens - Mark Sutton
First impressions of Korea
It's been a very long trip to get here, but from my first impressions of the circuit it was worth it.
After a ten-hour flight to Seoul, a first class train journey to Mokpo and a quick taxi ride to our 'Love Hotel', we've arrived. The accommodation is a bit bizarre and there are easily 30 of these 'Love Hotels' in the area - the one down the road is called the Hotel Feel, but we steered clear of that. Ours, The Washington, is actually very nice. It's still a 'Love Hotel' but it's clean, has a 42" TV and free internet access. They wanted the media to stay an hour away in the city of Gwangju, which is much bigger and has more luxurious hotels, but it's far more important to be close to the action so we're happy where we are.
Reports that this place is in the middle of nowhere were wide of the mark. There are loads of hotels and restaurants and Mokpo is actually a small city with everything you could want. There's a full blown concert going on by the coast at the moment and then on Friday and Saturday there are going to be raves going on until 2am - I'm not saying I've got the time to attend them, but it gives you an idea of the atmosphere.
The paddock looks up to scratch and the team buildings are huge, so they aren't even using the top floors of them. The media centre and the photographers' area is all complete, although the internet is a bit temperamental, but I'm sure that will be sorted in time for the action.
The track itself is finished. I walked it in full on Wednesday and everything looks as you would expect. Around the back of the circuit there are some very fast sweeping corners and, from a photographer's point of view, we're going to be a bit further away from the action out there, but it looks like a good sequence of turns. All the kerbs are laid and there is no weeping from the tarmac, as far as I'm concerned the track is finished. The only question mark I have is over the pit lane entrance and exit that seem to be a little bit too tight to the racing line for comfort.
Overall I would say hats off to the organisers. It's been difficult for them in recent weeks and they've produced what looks like a great circuit in a great part of the world.