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F1 Singapore Grand Prix to see biggest turnout since 2008, tickets expected to sell out: S Iswaran

The Formula 1 Grand Prix is set to make a strong comeback and shows that Singapore is ready to host world-class events after the COVID-19 pandemic, says Transport Minister S Iswaran.

F1 Singapore Grand Prix to see biggest turnout since 2008, tickets expected to sell out: S Iswaran

Transport Minister S Iswaran at an F1-themed West Coast community event on Aug 27, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Chew Hui Min)

SINGAPORE: The Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix is set to see its biggest turnout since the first night race in 2008, with tickets for this year's edition expected to sell out. 

Giving this update on Saturday (Aug 27), Transport Minister S Iswaran said that the ticket sales are a very clear sign that Singapore is "back strong" and ready to host world-class events after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"After a two-year break, this year's Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix is set to make a very strong comeback. The ticket sales have been very strong," Mr Iswaran told reporters at an F1-themed community event at West Coast, where he is a Member of Parliament.

"This year's ticket sales have exceeded that in 2019. So it means that we are set to see the largest attendance at the Singapore Grand Prix since its inaugural year in 2008," he added.

"I think it's a very clear sign of the interest and demand both locally and internationally for these kinds of sports events and entertainment."

The Singapore Grand Prix was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year's event will be held from Sep 30 to Oct 2, after a contract was signed in January for Singapore to host the Formula 1 Grand Prix for another seven years - the longest extension for the race to date.

"The organisers SGP expect a sellout event by the time we come to the weekend itself, and most importantly, it's a clear signal that Singapore is back strong," said Mr Iswaran, who is also Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

He added: "How much further it will go ... is a function of both the capacity that the organisers are able to make available and ... we have to make sure that the event's quality and the experience that the racegoers have is preserved."

The minister said that more than 40 per cent of the participants are usually from overseas and this should remain unchanged or could be exceeded this year.

The 2019 race drew 268,000 spectators over three days, while in 2008, 300,000 people attended the inaugural race. CNA has contacted organiser Singapore GP on the expected capacity this year.

Pointing to the F1-themed activities at the West Coast Community Centre, Mr Iswaran said that community outreach is an important part of the F1 event.

"The objective is to bring the buzz, excitement and the experience of F1 to all parts of Singapore, including our heartlands," he said.

He noted that there is a GP roving truck with race simulators which has been to about 17 locations, including community centres and schools. F1 screenings have been held at Suntec City, PLQ Mall and Dempsey, and will be going to more locations.

Mr Iswaran said that as a major event that attracts international visitors, the Grand Prix also draws other kinds of activities like MICE events and various types of conferences.

This year, Singapore will host the Milken Institute Asia Summit, as well as the Forbes Global CEO Conference, both of which will be held days before the Singapore Grand Prix.

"The benefit overall is for our tourism industry, in particular hospitality - so the hotels benefit, the air travel industry, but also equally, the F&B and our retail sector as well," said Mr Iswaran.

"Overall, I think it's a positive impact for the broader hospitality and other sectors that are associated with the Formula 1 event."

Transport Minister S Iswaran (third from left), with Minister for National Development Desmond Lee (second from left) and MPs Foo Mee Har (left), Ang Wei Neng (right) with residents at an F1-themed community event at West Coast Community Centre on Aug 27, 2022. (Photo: MTI)

Mr Iswaran said that there are many Singapore SMEs, contractors and service providers supporting the organisation of the race, totalling about 30,000 people.

"I think it's a very strong and positive signal on the recovery in our hospitality sector," he said.

"The hotels are gearing up, the hotel managers (and) GMs I have spoken to are very positive about the Formula 1 this year. They say the bookings are strong, the room rates are strong and they have been able to mobilise the manpower."

Responding to a reporter's question about concerns over the environmental impact of the race, Mr Iswaran said that sustainability is a national objective for Singapore.

He noted that many of the F1 teams already have arrangements with fuel suppliers to introduce biofuels and other kinds of sustainable fuels.

"We will make sure that the Singapore race does its best ... to be conducted in a sustainable way for now and for the whole duration of the contract and the period that we hold the race in Singapore." 

Source: CNA/hm(gs)