The event, which probably featured a tantalizing duel between Spaniard Fernando Alonso, last year's winner, and Germany's Sebastian Vettel, this year's season winner, captivated crowds who had stayed to watch the race after the seventh annual Kartrider championship - broadcast over the track's huge Korean-made LCD screens - which was won by a Korean driver, 19 year-old Kim, a university student from Seoul. Kim became the youngest ever winner of the e-sport, and he promised to be back next year to see off any challenge from Alonso and Vettel if they decide to progress to the next level in professional sports driving.
Some Kartrider fans expressed disappointment that there was still no Korean player participating in Formula 1, which the Ministry of Journalism has admitted made the possibility of a Korean driver winning the Korean Grand Prix at the weekend extremely unlikely, unless a local taxi driver accidentally wandered onto the track. There are also no Korean car manufacturers operating Formula 1 teams, with both Hyundai and Kia concentrating on mass producing domestic racing cars for Korea's street circuits rather than individual open-cockpit vehicles which would offer no protection from phlegm-throwing older men, rendering them impractical on Korea's smaller roads. This, coupled with the general reluctance to use crash helmets in Korea due to the kimchi-breath concentration issue, has seen a lack of Korean racing drivers competing in the international non-Korean sport.
On average, over 600 million people watch F1 races on TV, and as many as 10 of them are believed to be Koreans. With no Korean driver, it is not clear why the alleged sport attracts such a relatively large number of viewers in this country, but several are said to have subsequently reported problems with their remote control units.
Desperate for the success of Kartrider, Formula 1 authorities are now considering copying some of its ideas, starting with a proposal to spray water onto certain parts of the track to mimic rain. This would probably prove popular in Korea, where a monsoon and other weather sections could help highlight the fact that unlike other countries, Korea has four seasons. It is surely only a matter of time before Kartrider's water balloons and banana skins also make their way to the junior racing championship.
International visitors to the Grand Prix, who have not yet discovered the Korean Kartrider phenomenon which is sweeping the world - and who traveled to Yeongnam to watch the foreign Formula 1 circus instead - were treated to Korea's world famous traditional warm-hearted hospitality and temporarily disguised love hotels.
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