Honda F1 website

MAY 2, 2005

And let's not forget Korea

Back in 2003 it was announced that there would be a Formula 1 race in Korea in 2009 at a new track which would be built near the city of Jinhae (Chinhae). This is to be part of a vast development which will include a new seaport with 30 berths which aims to become the maritime capital of Asia.

This planned growth will be driven by the fact that the development will be in what is called a Free Economic Zone (FEZ) which hopes to attract more than $15bn in foreign investment by 2020 and emerge as a transportation hub to surpass rivals Shanghai, Hong Kong and Kobe. This will include a new Renault engine plant, which will produce engines for Renault-Samsung and probably for Nissan as well.

The three FEZs were created by the Korean government in November 2002 to develop the country and the Busan-Jinhae FEZ is offering rents at a tenth the cost of Shanghai. The development will include foreign schools and many other facilities to make it attractive to international companies. There are, of course, considerable financial incentives as well, including a total exemption from all corporate and income taxes for three years, followed by a 50 percent tax cut for an additional two years. The government also plans to subsidise land purchases and construction. The development will include new garden cities overlooking the beaches and in the Woongdong district a 3.1-mile racing track. A contract is in place for a race to be held in October 2009 and the construction costs are estimated to be $168m, which will including seating for 100,000 spectators on the 330-acre site. The project is due for completion in 2008.

It is worth noting, however, that South Korea has just become the 64th nation to ratify the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which commits the country to ban all tobacco sponsorship.