Costing £300 million and designed to bring Formula 1 to a whole new audience, this 120,000 capacity race track was not short on ambition.
South Korea tried to become a big part of Formula One back in 2010. They developed the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, South Jeolla. The track cost a whopping £300m to build and only held four F1 races.
The track was built in South Korea and made its debut 13 years ago.
Back in 2010, the first-ever Korean Grand Prix was held in Yeongam in the hopes of increasing the profile of F1 in Asia. 1,000 acres of rice paddies were torn up to make way for a new 120,000-person capacity Formula One venue. But it was an unsuccessful venture with the track only hosting four F1 races and the venue now left to rot.
The 3.5-mile circuit didn’t have any problems in its design and was entertaining with challenging corners and two straights for overtaking. But its location and the country’s lack of passion for the sport was its ultimate downfall.
The Korean International Circuit was built over 200 miles from the capital of South Korea, Seoul, which made it tricky for fans to make the long journey.
In a bid to draw eyes to F1, K-Pop star Psy attended the Korean Grand Prix. In fact, it’s reported that many didn’t even understand what F1 was and confused it as a branch of K-1, a mixed martial arts competition popular in Asia.
And it was a pretty expensive mistake too with the track ultimately costing over £300 million to build – effectively £75 million per F1 race and that’s without running costs and annual fees.
It wasn’t what was intended by any means and Park Bong-soon, former Formula One director of support for the venue admitted expectations weren’t met in an interview with the New York Times. He said: "We started with a big dream of making lots of money, instead we ended up with a spectacular flop."
The four Grand Prix’s held in South Korea between 2010 and 2013 were dominated by Sebastian Vettel.
The German won three races whilst the 2010 event was captured by Fernando Alonso. But following the 2013 Grand Prix, it all came to an end and after a few years of the track being used for smaller local racing, it has now been left abandoned.
There were problems during races too with the track used so little in between events that it was reported teams found rotting rubbish in the bins from the previous year’s Grand Prix.
The venue held over 120,000 people and Sebastian Vettel dominated the races that took place in South Korea.