The fact F1 has chosen the Singapore exchange for the sport’s high profile floatation does not mean the city-state’s popular floodlit street race is guaranteed.
The night event’s existing five year contract runs out this year, although a two-year notice clause in the deal means Singapore should stay on the calendar at least until 2014. On the face of it, a new deal seemed a certainty, given it was Bernie Ecclestone himself who chose Singapore as the location for F1’s forthcoming floatation.
“Formula One is known in Singapore, and Asia is thriving. It is a simpler market and not as restrictive,” he said recently.
Talks about a new race deal “are underway”, the local Business Times reported in March, “but it is understood that one sticking point is the sanction fee.”
An unnamed banker commented: “The Singapore government wants formula one to be listed here and for that to happen, it knows the race has to remain here. But at the same time, it doesn’t want to pay top dollar again. So the bargaining should continue for some time.”
However, the English language newspaper now reports that F1’s floatation plans, and the expiring Singapore race contract, could be entirely unrelated.
“We are in the process of negotiating a possible renewal of the (race) agreement and the outcome will be announced once discussions are complete,” said a spokesman for race promoter Singapore GP.
Second minister for trade and industry S Iswaran insisted that the mooted floatation will not influence the outcome of the race contract negotiations. And the Singapore tourism board’s Aw Kah Peng added: “You’ve got to see whether the deal is right in every way.
“We’re hoping everybody sees value in it and we get a so-called good deal for Singapore, in terms of whether all the numbers can work out and everybody takes home something — a kind of a win-win proposition.”