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F1 organizer Chung to sue over his dismissal

The chief organizer of Korean F1 Grand Prix is planning to sue over his dismissal, a source close to him said Sunday.

Chung Young-cho, the head of the Korea Auto Valley Operation, the operating body of F1 Korean Grand Prix, was dismissed from his post following a board meeting on Friday.

In an emergency meeting, shareholders of KAVO voted to oust Chung along with two other top officials due to alleged mismanagement and controversies created by the officials, according to news reports. Park Won-hwa, former Korean ambassador to Switzerland, was named as Chung’s replacement at the meeting.

Chung attended the meeting, but left the scene in protest of the shareholders’ decision. 
Chung Young-cho
Chung Young-cho

“He said he couldn’t accept the decision because there was something wrong in the procedure,” Jung Ji-hyun, a KAVO spokesman told The Korea Herald.

“He is now in discussion with his advisers as how to file a lawsuit,” he added, but he could not give details.

Chung first came under fire at home and abroad for poor preparation of the Korean Grand Prix. KAVO hosted the country’s first F1 racing event from Oct. 22-24 on the newly built circuit in Yeongam, South Jeolla Province, some 320 kilometers south of Seoul. 
Korea’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix on Oct. 24 (KAVO)
Korea’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix on Oct. 24 (KAVO)

The local organizer managed to host the racing event after frantic last-minute work to complete the circuit. Although the 5.61-kilometer track was finished just in time, KAVO failed to pass a safety inspection on the spectator seats in time for the event after struggling until the last minute to build 80,000-seat stands.

Friday’s decision had been hinted at by a top official from South Jeolla Province. Park Joon-yung, the governor of South Jeolla Province said in his New Year’s speech that a fundamental change is necessary for this year’s F1 Grand Prix, which is slated for Oct. 14-16.

KAVO is a consortium comprised of seven shareholders, including South Jeolla government with a 28.83 percent stake, Jeonnam Development Corporation, SK Construction, Shinhan Bank, Kwangju Bank, Nonghyup and MBH.

Chung is the head of MBH, the sports sponsorship firm. He is also the head of Korea Auto Racing Association, the country’s motor sports governing body.

Chung, in part with his close personal relationship with Formula One commercial-rights holder Bernie Ecclestone, closed a seven-year deal to host F1 Grand Prix with FIA.

However, with Chung’s dismissal, now a separate organizing committee led by the province would play a leading role for the upcoming F1 Grand Prix.

By Oh Kyu-wook  (596story@herald.com)
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