Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Motor Racing: S'pore GP set to get five-year extension

LONDON: Following almost a year of tough negotiations, Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone insisted on Monday that his Formula One Management (FOM) company had agreed terms with organisers to stage the Singapore Grand Prix for another five years after the current contract expires in September.

Mr Ecclestone's remarks - made in an exclusive interview with TODAY in the British capital - came just hours after Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran told Parliament that negotiations between race promoter Singapore GP and FOM were "still ongoing".

Mr Ecclestone, 81, told this newspaper that all obstacles preventing the deal from going through have been resolved and that the timing of the official announcement of the contract renewal will be decided and made by the Singapore Government.

An option for two more races until 2014 - after this year's edition from Sept 21 to 23 - would have kicked in had FOM and the Singapore authorities decided to walk away from the negotiating table.

"Everything that was in the way of the Singapore Grand Prix continuing for another five years has been cleared," said Mr Ecclestone, chief executive officer of F1 commercial rights holder FOM. "I'm happy that this is out of the way because Singapore has been good to F1 and the night race has also been equally good for Singapore."

Earlier on Monday, in a written reply to a question by Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Member of Parliament Liang Eng Hwa, Mr Iswaran also reiterated that Singapore will continue to host the race "only if the terms for a full five-year extension are economically viable". "We hope to see a mutually agreeable outcome soon," he had added.

Over the weekend, Singapore GP executive director Michael Roche told reporters that money was at the centre of talks to renew the current contract.

Despite being snowed under with work after Sunday's British Grand Prix, which was also attended by Singapore negotiators, Mr Ecclestone was keen to reassure that all was well with Formula 1's only night race.

Said Mr Ecclestone: "It has always been my intention to see that this race in Singapore continues beyond our current deal. Now that the negotiations are finally over, I am looking forward to go to Singapore for this year's event because I've always enjoyed it."

First held in 2008 on the 5.073 km Marina Bay street circuit, the rights fee to stage the Singapore Grand Prix is believed to have cost Singapore organisers US$35 million initially, and after yearly increases, peaked at about US$42 million last year.

It cost another S$150 million to prepare for each race, and 60 per cent - or S$90 million - of that amount is footed by the Singapore Government.

A feasibility study to review the benefits of continuing with the race here beyond the first agreement was conducted by authorities after the 2010 edition.

It revealed that in the first three years, the night race raked in a total of more than S$420 million in tourism receipts, while an average of more than 110,000 international visitors came to Singapore annually. In terms of global reach, the race also attracted a total of 300 million television viewers worldwide.

1 comment:

  1. This September, relive the greatest hits of the '80s at the 2012 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix with three of the era's celebrated performers.


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