F1: Indian authorities can learn from decade-old Singapore Grand Prix’s success

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Singapore, Sept 24(PTI): If Singapore was already not happening enough, it gets its additional dose of energy from the Grand Prix, which has established its rightful place on the ever-crowded Formula One calendar in less than a decade. The night-race in the city-state has been the shining light in a decade in which a number of races did not see the light of the day despite promising a lot, most recently India and Korea.

There are tangible reasons why the event has gone on to become arguably the most popular of the five races held in Asia. A street race taking place on an otherwise busy public road of the city makes the event almost impossible for the locals and the tourists to ignore. From the taxi driver to the average office-goer, they all can’t help talking about the race, also known as the ‘Monaco of the East’. Some love to discuss its positives, some find a few negatives. “I don’t think the race does anything substantial for Singapore. We live in a world-class city anyway; it is popular and will remain so irrespective of the race. “In fact, the roads are shut during the week, causing inconvenience to the locals,” said a cabbie ahead of the 10th Singapore Grand Prix that took place last week. However, taxi drivers like him are very much in the minority with the entire city celebrating the “festival of speed”. And it is not just about cars careening around the street circuit in the backdrop of the island’s spectacular skyline, a host of musical concerts and lifestyle events contribute significantly to the overall success of the Grand Prix. “The F1 Paddock Club in Singapore is entirely different to what you see in other venues. We wanted to do something unique and every year, we try to do something different,” said Michael Roche, executive director at Singapore GP. While the Singaporean residents may have a diverse opinion, the government certainly thinks that the race has boosted the global image of the city. Therefore, it was not a surprise when the race contract with Formula One was extended for another four years after due deliberation and lengthy negotiations.

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