Sunday September 23, 2012
Singapore race extended for five more years
SINGAPORE: Singapore announced a five-year extension for its spectacular night-time Formula One Grand Prix yesterday following months of hard bargaining for cheaper fees.
No price-tag for the new deal to 2017 was revealed, but Formula One commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone said repeatedly that the Singapore government had proven tough negotiators.
“It was difficult for me to negotiate,” said Ecclestone, sitting next to Singapore Trade and Industry Minister S. Iswaran for the announcement ahead of today’s Grand Prix.
“He’s not easy to deal with and I can’t understand why he was complaining about us using the streets and wearing out the streets,” he joked.
Singapore held Formula One’s first night race in 2008, after signing a five-year deal, and the race has rapidly established itself as a highlight of the season.
In one of the sport’s most striking settings, the street circuit snakes through the shimmering skyscrapers along the harbourside of the wealthy Asian financial hub.
But the city-state is also one of several grand prix hosts to complain about the high race fees it pays to Formula One. When pressed by journalists on whether Singapore had won a cheaper deal, Ecclestone was coy. — AFP