Koreans play big role in F1 Grand Prix

  • Published : Oct 14, 2011 - 18:35
  • Updated : Oct 14, 2011 - 18:35
YEONGAM, South Jeolla Province ― The F1 Korean Grand Prix will run Sunday for the second year.

Again, there will be no Korean drivers on the grid ― it will probably take a couple of years or much longer to see them in action here.

But drivers are just one part of the race ― 550-odd people are now working here to ensure the smooth running of those 24 cars over 55 laps at the Korean International Circuit.

And many Koreans are playing major role in various positions for a successful home Grand Prix ― and Yi Hun, 40, who is one of 300 track marshals at the Korean GP, is one of them.

“I’m happy to be a part of this big event,” Yi told the Korea Herald on Thursday.
F1 Korean Grand Prix track marshal Yi Hun of Korea. F1 Korean GP Organizing Committee.

Track marshals, located at various points around the 5.61-kilometer circuit, are the people who communicate with drivers through flags, signals and coordinate with race operations.

For instance, when they wave a yellow flag it indicates danger such as a stranded car and that the drivers must slow down.

It’s a job that requires a little bit of training but comes with a lot of responsibility. One mistake can compromise the safety of a driver, according to Yi.

“One of the difficulties is that you have to make a quick decision and send signs to the drivers as they run really fast,” Yi said. He says it is also a physically demanding job.

“You have to stay on your position from dawn till dusk over three days. It’s a difficult job,” he said.

The 40-year-old environmental engineer first became a track marshal for the inaugural Korean Grand Prix last year. And last month he paid out of his own pocket to travel to marshal the Singapore Grand Prix. This time back in Yeongam, he will be in charge of a post on turn eight of the circuit.

“I feel great responsibility, but also I am very proud to be a part of this event,” he added.

By Oh Kyu-wook (