- Singapore Grand Prix
Singapore extends contract until 2017
The organisers of the Singapore Grand Prix has announced that it has signed a new contract to stay on the Formula One calendar until 2017.
There was some confusion over the future of the race earlier this year as Bernie Ecclestone claimed that a new five-year deal had been agreed but the Singapore Grand Prix organisers later released a statement saying the terms weren't viable and that negotiations were still ongoing. Now, following the release of the provisional 2013 calendar it has been confirmed that the contract has been extended.
"All of us, without many exceptions, like being here," Ecclestone said. "That's what made it difficult for me to negotiate with the minister. He was not easy to deal with and I can't understand why he was complaining about us using his streets and wearing out his streets! But anyway, we eventually got there and I'm very happy that we have. We're all here for another five years."
Mr. S. Iswaran, Singapore's second minister of trade, industry and education, said he believes Singapore's race has been good for the sport.
"I'm very pleased to inform you that Singapore will continue to host an F1 grand prix until 2017. We've just concluded the terms of agreement today. The negotiations have taken some time because all parties have had very specific objectives and wanted to arrive at a mutually beneficial outcome.
"The Singapore government has taking a very deliberate and careful study of the costs and benefits of continuing with this race from a national perspective. Our view is that F1 has been good for Singapore and it has helped to strengthen Singapore's standing as a global city with a vibrant lifestyle. Equally, we believe that Singapore has also been good for Formula One. We have added a new dimension to the sport with a unique night race against the backdrop of our distinctive skyline and we have also introduced interesting and compelling entertainment and lifestyle options."
Iswaran also hinted that the government had managed to negotiate reduced terms with Ecclestone.
"From an economic perspective the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix has attracted more than 150,000 international visitors over the last four years. Each year on average it has induced incremental tourism spend of 140-150 million Singapore dollars [SGD]. For the extended term we expect the benefits to continue at these levels.
"The cost of organising each race has been about SGD150 million with government co-funding about 60% of the qualifying costs. We expect to achieve a further reduction to the net costs to the government through a number of factors, including the optimisation of our infrastructure and some of the government facilities being used, greater efficiencies operationally in the way the race is being organised and also in terms of the revised terms with the race promoter and FOA [Formula One Administration]."
With the majority of the race taking place on public roads, Iswaran added that there was the scope to change the track layout and it was an option being considered.
"As of now we are looking at the options. The current track has served us well and we are continuing to see if there are any opportunities to vary it or modify it, but at this stage there are no specific plans to do so."