Why the Singapore Grand Prix continues to be a crown jewel in the F1 calendar
10 reasons on the 10th SGP year
More News from Jason K. Ang
As Singapore’s hosting of its 10th Formula 1 Grand Prix was in full swing, the organizers announced that the event was to be extended for a further four years.
The celebrations this time lasted well into the night, as the Singapore Grand Prix (SGP) once again revved up its combination of on-the-edge motor racing and world-class entertainment.
Let’s look back on the 10-year history of SGP, and some of the qualities that make this annual event a massive success.
1. Glamor of Formula One (F1) in an ultra-modern city
When viewed on television, the SGP looks like no other race on the calendar, thanks to its being set at the heart of the Lion City itself.
In person, it looks even more impressive, as the motor racing and the city combined to produce a particularly eye-catching event.
2. Unpredictable race
Thanks to its very location in Singapore’s Marina Bay area, SGP runs on public streets reconfigured for F1.
The narrow track—the twistiest in the current calendar with 23 turns—often leads to entanglements for and evokes the unusual strategies from the teams.
This year’s race saw pole sitter Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikonnen, as well as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, crashing out of the race within the first three corners.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton took full advantage, winning the race from a fifth-place start.
Some of the leading F1 drivers have been caught out by the frantic action on the Marina Bay Street circuit, including Michael Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo, and Lewis Hamilton himself.
Multiple incidents this year had the safety car deployed three times.
Ross Brawn, one of the architects of Ferrari’s and Schumacher’s multiple world championships, and now Formula One Motor Sports director, said: “I have always enjoyed Singapore, right from the beginning. This event was a game-changer in many ways.
“The races here have always been entertaining, and this year, we are enjoying a fantastic championship with the top teams in contention for the title.
“Singapore is an iconic race on our calendar, and I’m delighted both with the renewal and with the extremely strong attendance figures, underline the enduring enthusiasm for this great event.”
3. World-class concerts
SGP pioneered the concept of turning the F1 race weekend into a multi-faceted entertainment event.
Fans go for the race, and stay for the world-class concert acts. This year, the event was headlined by DJs Calvin Harris, and the Chainsmokers.
Pop superstar Ariana Grande had the audience dancing away from start to finish. Classic acts Duran Duran and Seal entertained the young at heart.
The strong concert lineup in 2017 no doubt helped to attract an above-average crowd of 260,400 fans, a 19 percent increase from the previous year.
Previous years have seen headliners such as the Queen+Adam Lambert, Bon Jovi, Linkin Park, Pharrell, Jennifer Lopez, John Legend, The Pretenders, Rihanna, Imagine Dragons, Kylie Minogue, Spandau Ballet, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Maroon 5.
It’s said that the SGP attendance lives on the strength of its concert lineup, so the event will surely line up more exciting concert acts in the next four years.
4. Suitability for corporate events
The track’s central location and glitzy atmosphere make it a magnet for both dedicated F1 fans and corporate guests who are after the deal making amidst the wining and dining.
Companies use the event as an incentive trip for its customers and partners.
This year, Foton brought a contingent of its dealers as well as media to experience the SGP.
Singapore has one of the warmest and most humid climates in Southeast Asia. The brains behind the SGP managed to turn a problem into an opportunity when it set the race for nighttime.
The sundown setting makes it more comfortable for the attendees, and also lends it an aspect of excitement.
6. Singapore tourism initiatives
SGP brings in tens of thousands of motorsports fans from the region. This helps promote Singapore as a tourist attraction.
As the event is held during the night, guests would naturally seek out other activities during the day, from visiting the many natural and amusement parks in the city, to checking out its museums and other cultural attractions.
The way to tourists’ hearts is though their stomach, and Singapore obliges with its diverse array of food outlets.
From the famous hawker centers serving local food, to the premium dining experiences with celebrity chefs, there’s something tasty waiting for visitors to the Grand Prix.
8. Transport system
Efficiency is a watchword of the Lion City, and race fans find it relatively easy to access the venue.
Handling more than 200,000 visitors is not a simple task, but Singapore does it with aplomb with its MRT system, buses, and taxis. Even walking is not out of the question on the famously safe city streets.
Those looking for souvenirs, whether a team shirt, or other more expensive items, are spoiled for choice in Singapore’s many retail outlets.
Shops were filled with race fans during the weekend, and there were many promotions to draw in visitors.
10. Wide array of tickets
Die-hard race fans would want to spring for a seat on the pit grandstand, where a lot of the action takes place during the race.
Meanwhile, those on a budget could go for the walkabout tickets, where they can go up close to the action without draining the wallet.
Concert fans could choose the tickets that allow access to the area where their favorite artists are performing.