What’s next: the Singapore Grand Prix

Marina Bay – 18th September

Singapore is a gloriously vivid race, which shines like no other on the Formula One calendar. The cars dazzle under the floodlights, the street-circuit produces exciting races, and its setting, a mixture of bold illuminated skyscrapers and colonial palaces, is a stunning visual accomplishment both on television and live in the flesh.

Singapore has the distinct honour of having held the first ever night-time event in Formula One history. 2016 will be the ninth time that Formula One returns to the city’s streets and the Marina Bay circuit.

The city's famous skyline provides a truly spectacular backdrop to the street-circuit and it has become an instant classic amongst the raft of new race locations. The strategic timing of the event, 8pm local time, also means that it can be broadcast at a convenient time for European television audiences, as well as producing the spellbinding sights for the resident fans.

The timing of the race is not only a blessing for international viewers and racing aesthetes. Nigel Geach believes that that there are definite corporate gains to the evening scheduling: “It’s a very popular race with sponsors and partners,” he says. “An evening race means that you can do business during the day and then go on to the race in the evening.”

Last year’s race attracted 86,970 spectators daily, with 260,912 spectators at the Marina Bay Street Circuit over the three-day weekend; this is the third highest attendance record in the eight year history. 

Race organisers Singapore GP Pte Ltd, the Singapore Tourism Board and FOM are now into the penultimate year of their second five-year deal to stage the race. 2017 is the final year in the contract, and a new deal is expected soon. Singapore Airlines, the longstanding supporter of the race has been the title sponsor of the race since 2014, and the airline will continue as title sponsorship of the Singapore Grand Prix until 2017.

Singapore’s impressive fortitude has been key to putting on the race because of the tremendous infrastructure issues that they have to undertake for each annual running. Lighting a circuit of that length is an extraordinary task and comes at considerable expense, as do the makeshift barriers and grandstands. The pit lane and paddock are permanent structures, built in the shadow of the iconic Singapore Flyer, the 165-metre tall observation wheel.

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