Sin­ga­pore ex­tends ‘Monaco of the East’ Grand Prix to 2021

Global Times - Weekend - - SPORTS -

Or­ga­niz­ers of For­mula One’s Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix an­nounced a four-year con­tract ex­ten­sion un­til 2021 on Fri­day, adding that their costs were fall­ing as they find new ef­fi­cien­cies and rev­enue streams.

The an­nounce­ment, pro­long­ing the dis­tinc­tive night race which has been dubbed F1’s “crown jewel” and the “Monaco of the East,” comes af­ter neigh­bor­ing Malaysia de­cided to can­cel its Grand Prix, cit­ing ris­ing costs.

Sin­ga­pore Min­is­ter for In­dus­try S. Iswaran said the deal took “sev­eral rounds” of ne­go­ti­a­tions with F1’s new own­ers Lib­erty Me­dia, who took over this year.

“The Sin­ga­pore race is clearly a sig­na­ture race ... it’s also our gate­way into Asia which is im­por­tant for our fu­ture and our growth,” F1 chief Chase Carey told re­porters.

“Sin­ga­pore is truly an iconic race on our sched­ule.”

The Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix, which started in 2008, tra­verses a flood­lit, down­town lay­out which takes in the city-state’s land­marks and gleam­ing sky­scrapers.

Its ex­ten­sion shows Lib­erty is keen to make Sin­ga­pore a cen­ter­piece of its Asian sched­ule, as it tries to build a more co­her­ent cal­en­dar with Asian, Euro­pean and Amer­i­can swings.

How­ever, Lib­erty failed to ex­tend Sin­ga­pore by the usual five years, as the city-state’s au­thor­i­ties re­mained cau­tious about F1’s fu­ture di­rec­tion un­der its new own­ers.

While nei­ther side di­vulged terms of the new deal, Iswaran said Sin­ga­pore’s costs had fallen to S$135 mil­lion ($100 mil­lion) de­spite in­fla­tion over the last 10 years.

Carey also spoke of “fair value,” a com­ment that hinted at a sweet­ened deal for Sin­ga­pore.

Iswaran said the de­ci­sion by Malaysia, which will hold its last Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, had no bear­ing on Sin­ga­pore’s move to stay in F1.

He said Sin­ga­pore had not no­ticed any sig­nif­i­cant com­pe­ti­tion from the Malaysian Grand Prix, even af­ter it was moved to an ad­ja­cent slot in the F1 cal­en­dar.

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