Having the Formula 1 race in Singapore has benefited the country in publicity, boost to business and many other ways.
Read the article below to find out why F1 is important for Singapore.
A valuable buzz for S’pore
THE Singapore skyline all aglow, that was beamed across the world last night, was a picture that brought a proud smile to the face of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.
It depicts a vibrant city, ‘a city we can be proud of’, he said, drawing reporters’ attention to the TV images of the history-making Formula One night race held here over the weekend.
“I’ve been watching it on TV the last couple of nights, not watching the cars, but watching the skyline, to see whether the skyline shows up and we see Singapore showing off its best,” he said on the sidelines of the race before he handed the trophy to winner Fernando Alonso.
One image especially struck him: a lit-up Benjamin Sheares Bridge with regular traffic on it and F1 cars racing underneath. “It’s a quite a unique scene and there are very few places in the world where that would happen.”
PM Lee added, “It is is a valuable buzz, publicity for us around the world, which will benefit us in many ways.”
F1 racing is reportedly a money-spinning sport event, ranked among the top three with the Olympics and World Cup soccer in raking in millions in tourism.
However, for Mr Lee, the impact on business leaders is as significant.
He cited a lunch on Saturday that the Economic Development Board had with ‘some of their corporate clients who are investing in Singapore big time’.
Pointing out that they had gathered here because of the F1, he added: ‘It’s a chance for us to meet them, network, and renew our relationship with them.
“You’d be surprised how many of them have a special interest in F1. And they were telling me how impressed they were with the arrangements and with the race. It was something different, a night race, and it adds something to the sport, and would put Singapore on the map.”
However, the inconveniences were not lost on him. He noted the traffic jams, workers having to leave their cars at home and take the train to work plus lousy sales suffered by some retailers.
“We will see how we can minimise these inconveniences,” he said.
One area of improvement he highlighted is the duration of the road closures.
“Because this year we didn’t know how long it would take us to put the equipment up and to set up the circuit, so I think they started closing some roads even last weekend. That’s a long time to be disrupted.”
One idea the organisers are toying with, he said, is to see if it was possible to do it a day or two before the race.
Mr Lee also alluded to the view among some that the event, touted as the biggest held here in recent years, had left out the man in the street.
On the contrary, the sport has a strong following among Singaporeans, he said.
“For example, there’re 1,000 Singaporeans who have volunteered to help to run this race…many are enthusiasts.”
Among them, he discovered, was a member of his staff, whom he asked ‘to ‘educate me on what this race is about’.
“I got a five-minute crash course as to how the race is run and what the scores are, what the rules are,” he said, adding with a laugh, “So today, I’m a bit less ignorant than otherwise I’d be.”