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Whitmarsh: Is new Grand Prix a wise Korea move?

McLAREN boss Martin Whitmarsh has questioned the wisdom of including a Korean Grand Prix on next year's Formula One calendar, underlining he feels the sport should instead be focusing on reestablishing a foothold in North America.

October 17 in Yeongnam has been pencilled in as a provisional date for next season, bringing the 2010 calendar to 19 races, with Montreal also set to be reinstated, provided they can work out a deal with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

But Whitmarsh revealed that the Formula One Teams Association has reservations about adding a sixth race in Asia following reports there could be a shortage of facilities.

"We hear stories it's four or five hours from anywhere, there's no infrastructure, no hotels, no-one can get there - it's going to make it difficult for fans and difficult for media," he said.

"We're meant to be doing it for the fans and other people. My personal opinion is that we've got other priorities, we've go to act in North America.

"There shouldn't be question marks over Montreal, we should be prepared to sacrifice a normal week and get to Montreal.

"We want to make sure we crack North America. It's got a big market.

"I don't think we should be so arrogant as to expect them to pay us good money to go there.

"I think we messed it up so badly in the past we should be saying 'if necessary we'll come there for free and we'll work with you to develop the North American audience'."

Whitmarsh also underlined McLaren agreed to go along with FOTA's proposal to defer the use of KERS until 2011 for the good of Formula One as a whole.

McLaren have persevered this season with the energy recovery system that gives a driver the option of a short power boost each lap at the press of a button in contrast to the majority of teams, who decided not to run it on their cars.

However, while Whitmarsh admitted he would like to retain KERS for 2010, he stressed McLaren decided to side with the rest of the paddock in a bid to help reduce costs and ease the passage of four potential new teams into the sport next season.

He said: "As McLaren, we'd rather have KERS, we think we've got the best KERS system. But I think what we're trying to demonstrate is that the teams have to pull together, to have some unity and direction, try and build the sport."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 6, 2009
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