Singapore dressed up to party like it’s 2019 for F1 return | Racing News

SINGAPORE: With tickets selling out fast and party suites costing up to $70,000 a night, Singapore is stepping up to the plate when it hosts Asia’s first Formula 1 race since the pandemic this weekend.
Tens of thousands of fans are expected to converge for the Singapore Grand Prix from Friday to Sunday as night racing resumes after a two-year absence due to Covid.
Adding to the party atmosphere, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen could retain his world title on the floodlit street circuit around the Marina Bay district.
But one of the most glamorous races on the F1 calendar has always been about much more than racing.

Off the track, the city-state will let loose with gigs from Westlife, Black Eyed Peas and Suede, as well as American rapper Fatman Scoop and the Dutch DJ. Olivier Heldens.
More upscale parties feature caviar and champagne on the menu, and diners can immerse themselves in an F1-themed “Roaring Dinner Feast” and “Fuel Up Brunch.”
Around 25 corporate meetings and events, including the Forbes Global CEO Conference, are also scheduled, allowing executives to combine work and leisure.

β€œIt signals to the world that Singapore is back in business and our ability to deliver world-class, high-quality events remains intact,” Ong Ling Leeexecutive director of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), told AFP.
Authorities have not released figures, but ticket sales for Singapore’s biggest event since the pandemic have already topped 2019, when 268,000 spectators watched, Ong said.
Race tickets cost from Sg$98 ($70) to nearly Sg$10,000.

Singapore has lifted all Covid restrictions except mask-wearing inside buses and subways, after vaccinating most of its nearly six million population and deciding to live with the virus.
β€œFrom a global perspective, this is the brightest light that has shone on Singapore since the pandemic,” Song Seng Wuneconomist at CIMB Private Banking, told AFP.
“It’s Singapore’s big coming-out-of-Covid party.”
Covid wrecked Singapore’s economy with its deepest recession on record in 2020 and in 2021 visitor arrivals plunged to 330,000 from 19.12 million in 2019.

But it became endemic earlier this year and last week overtook Hong Kong as Asia’s top financial center in a global ranking.
Seeing Singapore open up forcefully has “put pressure” on other Asian economies such as Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong to ease travel restrictions as well, Song said.
“Formula 1 is also putting the spotlight on Asia in terms of getting back to serious business.”
Hotel bookings have been swift, even with estimated room rates up to 50% higher than they were pre-Covid.
Prices have jumped past S$2,000 a night, especially for those around the circuit.

β€œThere are a lot of pent-up requests for racing enthusiasts looking forward to returning to Singapore,” said Marcus Hanna, Managing Director of Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford.
For many, socializing is as important as running.
F1 after-party specialist Amber Lounge is offering a “Black Suite” for up to 25 people at the five-star Fullerton Bay Hotel, priced at S$100,000 a night. The hotel’s F1-inspired dishes include a “Pit Stop Cake”.
The nearby Marina Bay Sands casino and resort offers a “mandala weekend“, where you can enjoy a variety of musical entertainment and parties.
American hip hop duo Rae SremmurdGrammy-nominated artist Kelis and popular British drum and bass musicians Rudimental are among those featured.

The tourism board said F1 had generated more than S$1.5 billion in tourism revenue since its debut in Singapore in 2008.
“For me, it’s not just about the race, I want to go around to see who’s coming to the party, to see if the buzz has returned,” said Song, the economist.
“I think it’s back with a vengeance.”

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