Singapore F1 set for five more years

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IOL mot pic jul11 F1 Singapore aerial

REUTERS

An aerial view of the Marina Bay street circuit for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Formula One has agreed terms with Singapore to extend the country's Grand Prix contract for five years after September's race.

Commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone was quoted in Singapore's Today newspaper as saying on Wednesday that the timing of the official announcement of the renewal would be decided by the Singapore government.

Ecclestone said: “Everything that was in the way of the Singapore Grand Prix continuing for another five years has been cleared.

“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.”

ECONOMICALLY VIABLE

Singapore GP executive director Michael Roche said over the weekend that money was the sticking point in the renewal talks. A government minister added on Monday that the terms had to be “economically viable”.

The race was first held in 2008 on the Marina Bay street circuit and has become a social highlight of the Formula One calendar that rivals Monaco and Abu Dhabi as a draw for dealmakers and corporate heavy-hitters.

Formula One had also planned a flotation worth up to $3 billion (R24.5 billion) in Singapore but that has been put on hold due to weak and volatile markets.

TOURISM BONANZA

Today said the rights fee for hosting the Grand Prix was believed to have cost Singapore organisers $35 million (R285 million) initially with yearly increases rising to $42 million (R345 million) in 2011.

A feasibility study carried out after the 2010 race found that the Grand Prix had brought in 420 million Singapore dollars (R2.7 billion) in tourism receipts in the first three years.

This year's Singapore GP will be run on 23 September. - Reuters

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