Sin­ga­pore wants to drop F1 Grand Prix: Ec­cle­stone

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

SIN­GA­PORE: Sin­ga­pore does not want to host an an­nual For­mula One grand prix any­more, F1 CEO Bernie Ec­cle­stone told Ger­man mag­a­zine Auto Mo­tor und Sport, Reuters re­ported yes­ter­day.

Ec­cle­stone’s com­ments come amid a sig­nif­i­cant drop in at­ten­dance, with Sin­ga­pore’s race in Septem­ber see­ing an av­er­age of 73,000 spec­ta­tors in each of the three days, down from 87,000 last year. The in­au­gu­ral race in 2008 got more than 100,000 spec­ta­tors daily.

“Look at what we have done for Sin­ga­pore,” Ec­cle­stone was quoted as say­ing by Auto Mo­tor und Sport. “Yes, the Grand Prix has cost Sin­ga­pore a lot of money, but we’ve also given them a lot of money.

“Sin­ga­pore was sud­denly more than just an air­port to fly to or from some­where. Now they be­lieve they have reached their goal and they do not want a Grand Prix any­more,” he said.

Ec­cle­stone, 86, is fa­mous for out­spo­ken media in­ter­views dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions. The Bri­ton at­tended this year’s Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix amid ne­go­ti­a­tions on F1’s takeover by US ca­ble TV mogul John Malone’s Lib­erty Media.

A spokesman for Sin­ga­pore GP, the event’s or­gan­iser in the city-state, said in an email: “We don’t com­ment on on­go­ing com­mer­cial ne­go­ti­a­tions.”

Sin­ga­pore GP is a pri­vate com­pany owned by Ong Beng Seng, one of the citys­tate’s rich­est men. The gov­ern­ment helps with 60% of the cost of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Next year’s race will be Sin­ga­pore’s last if the city-state can­not reach a new deal with F1.

Sin­ga­pore’s tourist ar­rivals have been on the rise. In the first eight months of this year, be­fore the F1 race, the num­ber of vis­i­tors was up 10.3% from the same pe­riod of 2015, at 11.3 mil­lion.

The sec­tor is see­ing a struc­tural shift away from heavy spenders and to­wards the emerg­ing mid­dle classes of China, In­dia and In­done­sia, an­a­lysts say.

Trinh Nguyen, a se­nior econ­o­mist for emerg­ing-mar­ket Asia at French in­vest­ment bank Natixis SA in Hong Kong, said the re­cent drop in F1 at­ten­dance may be a sign that the nov­elty of the event is wear­ing off, and may also be a re­flec­tion of weak regional growth. “It (F1) also comes with costs. Thus, with tourism re­ceipts (from F1) wan­ing – the cost ben­e­fit cal­cu­lus is tip­ping in the other di­rec­tion.”

In Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day, Tourism and Cul­ture Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Mo­hamed Nazri Aziz said the F1 Malaysian Grand Prix con­tract will not be re­newed af­ter it ex­pires in 2018, due to poor fi­nan­cial re­turns, Ber­nama re­ported.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.