Formula-1 (F1) goers this year had a real treat having witnessed the dramatic start to this year’s Singapore Grand Prix race on Sunday.
Adding on to the significance of this year’s F1 is Singapore GP Pte Ltd and Singapore Tourism Board announcing that they will continue to host the FIA Formula 1 World Championship for four more years from 2018 to 2021.
In its first decade, the race has attracted over 450,000 international visitors to Singapore and about S$1.4 billion in tourism receipts, but not without controversies about the financial sustainability of Singapore GP.
For the 10th edition of Singapore’s annual F1 race, Singapore GP Pte Ltd announced that the overall attendance was 260,400, a 19% increase in ticket sales from 2016.
Singapore GP Pte Ltd Executive Director Michael Roche said: “This is a very positive sign for the years to come. Our aim, as always, is to improve the event both on and off the track to keep people coming back and to attract even more visitors to Singapore.”
Welcoming the crowd figures, Ross Brawn, Formula One Motor Sports Director, said: “I have always enjoyed Singapore, right from the beginning. This event was a game-changer in many ways.”
“Singapore is an iconic race on our calendar and I’m delighted both with the renewal and with the extremely strong attendance figures, which underline the enduring enthusiasm for this great event.”
POPSPOKEN went on-site to ask F1-goers why they choose to attend F1 and their thoughts on the four-year extension announced over the weekend:
John Tay and Henry Loh, both 69, have been attending Formula 1 in Singapore for five years consecutively.
“We enjoy the race and like to follow the team we support,” said both the retirees. “The four year extension is great because Singaporeans get more opportunities to watch future races.”
“We’re also mostly just here for the atmosphere. We’ll definitely come back for Formula One over the next few years. It’s Singapore’s highlight!”
Tim Ducker, 27 is travelling the world for half a year and happened to be in Southeast Asia during Singapore’s F1 weekend.
“The stopover to Singapore was intentionally for the Formula One race,” said Ducker, who is attending F1 for the second time since the British Grand Prix in Silverstone five years ago.
“I didn’t know there were rumours that this could be the last year of Singapore Grand Prix, but I do know that this track is famous for being the only F1 night race – possibly the most stunning track globally!”
Full-time nurses Nur Aqilah Bte Zulkeffli and Muhammad Nabil Shafie Bin Sha’ari are attending F1 for the second time.
“This is probably Singapore’s only international family-friendly event,” said Aqilah. “I believe the reason why there’s a large crowd is because of the performances, and it might be able to salvage the dropping attendance of the past few years.”
“There was a bit of false hope with the rumours that this was going to be the last F1 year. I just find it unfair how they extended F1 for four more years and tell us at the very last minute making us splurge and bring on huge acts,” said Nabil.
“But we’ll definitely be back in the future. To be honest, the entire F1 event is usually really well planned-out without any complications, so why not?”
“I chose to come this year because there were rumours going around that it was the last year of F1 – looks like it’s just a marketing ploy,” said Bryan Cheong, a 25-year-old fresh graduate.
“As a Singaporean, I think F1 is more for tourists. My family and I don’t come and don’t even watch the race on television.”
Music fans Sheila Lim, 23 and Charmaine Daryanani, 22 is mainly attending F1 for the entertainment lineup.
“It’s fortunate for Singaporeans that we have F1. I love race cars and the entertainment,” said Charmaine. “I came for Maroon 5 two years ago and am back again this year for the Chainsmokers.”
Sheila said: “We’ll definitely be back again if the lineup is good. I hope the Chainsmokers comes back again!”
Cover Photo: Singapore GP via Getty Images
All other photos: Sheryl Teo. Taken with permission.
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