Charlie Whiting’s back in the office. What he saw was a finished circuit. So please stop bothering me, make your travel arrangements, buy your tickets and I’ll see you all in a week’s time.
Oh and one other thing: I said the circuit‘s finished. Paddock too, by the way. And some grandstands. Great stuff, job well done. But don’t expect anything else.
Charlie tells me the Koreans tried to pretend the only thing that still needs to be done is ‘some landscaping’. Forget it. There is no landscape. The place is sitting in the middle of a giant construction site. The lunatics’re building a bloody city in the middle of the circuit, and all around it.
So don’t stare yourself blind on the scene from the F1 2010 video game in the top picture. A computer monitor is the only place where you’ll see the circuit in its proper shape for some time to come. The real deal’s a building pit, and it will remain that for the next two years at least. Bring your boots.
There. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I’d sent him off to Kimchi or whatever it’s called, incognito, ahead of the official inspection. He went there straight after Singapore. Took him a day and a half to find his way back home.
How did it go, I asked him. Did the Inspector Frogleg outfit work? “Like a charm,” he said. “Nobody recognised me. One person asked me if I was Mr Bean. They all seem to love Mr Bean over there.” Well, that would explain the construction delays, then. So you could find out how they’re doing without being noticed?
“Oh no,” he says. “I said they didn’t recognise me. But they did notice me. Of course they did. How could they not? I stuck out like a sore thumb. Literally. This is some backwater deep in South Korea, you know. I was the only Westerner for hundreds of miles around.”
“But I did find out how they’re doing. Continue reading
Koreans are deadline junkies. The circuit’ll probably be ready just in time, and the grandstands will be empty. But now the lads are getting restless too. Complain that they have to book their tickets while still being uncertain if there will be a race.
That’s your typical team boss: operating on a hundred million annual budget and getting all worked up over a 50 quid cancellation fee.
Of course it doesn’t help that the deadline junkies have managed to stall the final inspection all the way to October 11th. So I’ve told Charlie Whiting, our in-house sleuth, to travel straight from Singapore to Yeongam and have a look-see. Incognito.
Charlie’s not used to cloak and dagger stuff, and he’s quite excited about it. I’ve started calling him Inspector Clouseau, which is French for frog leg, and he’s bought a little hat and a raincoat with a big collar.
Let’s hope he brings good news. I’ll keep you posted.
Had a word with Charlie Whiting yesterday, about Korea. He’s just been there for a site visit. So how’s it going in the Korea Auto Valley, Charlie?
“Great, Bernie.” He says. These Koreans know how to build. They’re not ready yet but they’ll get there in time. Beautiful site, in the middle of nowhere so nothing to stop them from finishing in time. No worries.”
That’s Charlie alright. Send him in to do the job, he’ll do the job. Inspect construction progress? Done. But will he see the big picture? No he won’t. That’s what Supremos are for, of course.
So do I worry? Of course I do. Do you see the artist impression Charlie got from the Koreans? Do you see what’s wrong with it?
I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it: Continue reading