In 2008, the FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX
burst onto the world stage as one of the most dramatic additions to the F1 world championship calendar.
Since then, the yearly night-racing spectacle has set new standards in motorsports. Now in its fifth year, the 2012 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX
will continue to enthral crowds with a powerful combination of thrilling race action and world-class entertainment amidst a unique setting in downtown Singapore. Even the most sophisticated audience is held spellbound by the remarkable vista of lights illuminating the 23-turn Marina Bay Street Circuit.
“In just a few years, the Singapore Grand Prix has become a classic F1 event - the circuit and facilities are truly world-class and the setting and atmosphere of the race make it one of the jewels of the calendar. If circuits like Spa, Silverstone, Monza and Monaco represent the epitome of classic Formula 1, then a circuit such as Marina Bay has, I think, quickly established itself as one of the sport's modern wonders and greatest success stories," says McLaren F1 team principal, Martin Whitmarsh.
Nothing else comes close
The Marina Bay Street Circuit was developed in preference to a permanent out-of-town facility to bring the Grand Prix right into the heart of the city, with Singapore's heritage buildings and iconic modern architecture providing a spectacular backdrop to the action. It offered an unprecedented quality of corporate entertainment and a platform to showcase Singapore as a state-of-the-art and vibrant visitor destination.
In contrast to the often isolated location of many Grand Prix venues which require expensive car rentals or lengthy journeys to reach the track, six of Singapore's subway stations are within walking distance to the circuit, along with numerous entertainment, restaurants and accommodation options. That makes it a convenient and cost-effective destination for overseas visitors. Of course the other thing that makes the Singapore race unique is its position as the only night race on the F1 calendar (the race starts at 8pm local time).
For tourists hoping to get more bang out of their buck, there is no shortage of sundown activities long after the F1 engines have died down. Many a race-goer can be found party-hopping at nightspots like Avalon and Amber Lounge, or engaging in retail therapy at the malls lining shopping haven Orchard Road. Food of course is another major talking point in this multi-ethnic city. A gastronomic adventure begins at the award-winning restaurants that dot the island, to hawker centres teeming with savoury street food, to off-the-beaten-track coffee shops that remain open well past midnight offering local delicacies such as teh-tarik –-milk tea 'pulled' to make a delicious frothy beverage.
Every year, the night race has seen sold-out attendances. On the average, about 250,000 tickets for the three-day event are sold each year and hospitality facilities such as the prestigious Formula One Paddock Club™, Sky and Club Suites as well as the Green Room sell out months ahead of the race. Amongst the race's many appeals is its ability to bring all the drama on track close to fans, as Norbert Haug, Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport puts it: “For most F1 fans, Singapore rhymes with glamour. On many levels, the Singapore Grand Prix could be called the 'Monaco of south-east Asia', with those 24 cars dancing between the walls, sometimes only a few centimetres away… indeed, sometimes not even that.”
Sebastian Vettel, 2010 and 2011 FIA Formula One World Champion and winner of the 2011 Singapore GP agrees: “It's spectacular seeing the cars so close at night, seeing them right in front of you in the middle of the city, also around the race there are a lot of concerts going on, things like that make it all in all very spectacular for people to come. The attraction is huge. I think we are quite privileged to be part of that… [to] feel these emotions – it makes our job very enjoyable.”
In previous years, global superstars such as Shakira, Linkin Park, and Mariah Carey amongst many others have performed to record attendances at the Padang, which is accessible to all ticket holders as part of their normal admission fee.