Singapore contract extended to 2017

Last Updated 22 September 2012, 18:39 IST

Formula One cars will continue to swerve around the skyscrapers of Singapore for the next five years after the government agreed on Saturday to help cover the S$150 million ($122.61 million) cost of hosting the unique night race.

There had been some doubt about the future of the event, the only night race on the calendar, as media reports said the government was keen to drive down the cost of staging a race drivers describe as one of the toughest in F1.

"We have just concluded the terms of the agreement today," second minister for trade and industry S Iswaran told reporters at the Marina Bay Street Circuit just after final practice on the eve of the fifth edition.

"The negotiations have taken some time because all parties have had very specific objectives and wanted to arrive at a mutually beneficial outcome."

Iswaran said the race had attracted more than 150,000 international visitors over the last four years with an average annual tourism spend of S$140-150 million.

"The Singapore government in particular has taken a very deliberate study of the costs and benefits of continuing with this race from a national perspective. Our view is that F1 has been good for Singapore," he added.

"We had estimated 150 million dollars a year to run the race and the government would share 60 per cent of the approved costs.

"We have been able to manage it slightly below that and going forward we think there will be additional scope for savings."

The event also traditionally includes a stellar lineup of musical acts from around the world. This year American pop star Katy Perry will headline with British singer-songwriter Noel Gallagher, formerly of Oasis, also performing.

"Equally we believe Singapore has been good for F1. We have added a new dimension to the sport with a unique night race against the backdrop of our distinctive skyline."

Sat alongside Iswaran was Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who had said in June a contract was all but signed for a five-year extension only for the government to deny it.

(Published 22 September 2012, 18:39 IST)

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