Saturday September 22, 2012
Singapore GP ‘unconfirmed’ for next year’s calendar
SINGAPORE: Next year’s Singapore Grand Prix remains “subject to confirmation”, reports said yesterday, as organisers head into high-stakes contract talks with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone this weekend.
The glittering night race is set for its fifth edition tomorrow but the hosts are stalling on a five-year extension, after complaining the present deal is financially unappealing.
On a provisional Formula One calendar for 2013, Singapore is one of four races marked “subject to confirmation”, along with New Jersey, Germany and South Korea, according to Autosport.com. The floodlit grand prix, which snakes through a spectacular city-scape in the southeast Asian financial hub, has rapidly established itself as a favourite on the Formula One circuit. But it is one of several venues eager to reduce costs during an enduring worldwide economic slowdown. South Korea and Australia have also called for a reduction in the race fees they pay to Formula One.
Ecclestone is expected to make a statement about the race today, the report said, while local media are tipping an announcement by Singaporean authorities tomorrow.
Formula One also plans to launch an initial public offering in Singapore, although stock market turmoil has affected timing originally rumoured to be the middle of this year.
High costs have caused friction for several hosts of Formula One, which has expanded aggressively from its traditional European domain with seven races in the Asia-Pacific region this season.
In the schedule, which will be submitted for approval by motor racing chiefs, New Jersey’s inaugural American Grand Prix replaces Valencia, and Bahrain keeps its slot despite its protest-hit edition this year.
The 20-stop season will start in Australia on March 17 and end in Brazil on Nov 24. — AFP
In 2008, Chinese Grand Prix organisers told AFP they were prepared to walk away from Formula One, before later extending their deal.
The Australian Grand Prix has long been the subject of controversy with estimates that it costs local taxpayers A$50mil (US$52.5mil) to stage.
According to the provisional calendar, next year’s South Korean race is still in question despite comments from organisers that they had negotiated a cheaper deal.