Aitken hopes to have the ability to put South Korea again on the Reuters Method 1 map
© Reuters. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
(Reuters) – British-Korean driver Jack Aitken, overwhelmed by the response from fans in South Korea after making his Formula 1 debut last year, hopes his newfound support will attract the attention of teams, who want to enter the East Asian market.
Aitken made his F1 debut for Williams (NYSE 🙂 at the Sakhir Grand Prix, replacing George Russell, who stood for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, after testing positive for COVID-19.
Aitken, born in London to a Scottish father and Korean mother, said he made waves in Korea despite finishing 16th in Bahrain.
“There was a lot of feedback – more than I expected – which was amazing because Formula One has traditionally not been that popular in Korea,” he told the South China Morning Post.
“The interest in motorsport is still young. We have a lot of Korean fans who come up and many who follow the races because of my heritage. I had a lot of questions about how I can get involved.”
Formula 1 has long since expanded since its European origins. In 1976, Japan was added as the first Asian venue, followed by Malaysia, which later left. China joined the list in 2004, Singapore in 2008, and there are now races in the Middle East. Four races took place in South Korea between 2010 and 2013.
Aitken said his focus would be on increasing the popularity of motorsport in the region.
“It’s well documented that motorsport isn’t cheap and that you have to be marketable,” he said. “The markets in the east are very attractive and Korea is definitely at the top of that list.
“If they (manufacturers) can use me to make themselves more marketable, that’s a real plus.”
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