Road closures for F1 race cut to 7 days this year
Channel NewsAsia - Thursday, April 9
SINGAPORE: Road closures within the Formula One circuit will be cut from the extensive 12 days last year to seven days this year.
While speed demons were on a high during last year’s inaugural night race, some businesses within the F1 circuit found themselves left out of the party as extensive road closures before and after the race put the brakes on spending.
With more experience this time round, government agencies — Singapore Tourism Board and Land Transport Authority — and race organiser Singapore GP said they will shorten the road closure period to improve the situation.
They will start with single—lane closures the Saturday before Race Day weekend which is from 25—27 September.
Full road closures will kick in two days before Race Day weekend, instead of six days previously. Access during peak hours remains.
Roads will be reopened two days after the race, by 5pm Tuesday instead of 4pm.
But more needs to be done to help improve bottomlines.
STB’s assistant chief executive (international group) and director for F1, Leong Yue Kheong, said: "With reduction in road closures, impact to shop owners, stakeholders and people who operate businesses in the area will already be significantly reduced.
"Second thing (which) we have already started doing in the last few weeks. We have moved around, engaging stakeholders in and around Marina Circuit...Our idea is to share with them our plans and listen to them in terms of potential initiatives and collaborations....to jointly promote and drive business to the area."
Some ideas include having a F1 display car in one of the malls and organising F1 driver autograph sessions.
The STB is also looking to improve signages for pedestrians.
But for places like the Esplanade, which lost $750,000 last year as its venue could not be used for commercial bookings during the race period, takings will still be affected.
This year, it has already lost one long running production with a fixed touring schedule.
One improvement the arts venue hopes to see this time is enhanced public awareness of accessibility to the area.
But besides keeping businesses and people flowing locally, organisers also need to pull in the tourist numbers.
Like last year, STB has set twin targets of $100m in tourism receipts with at least 40 per cent of spectators from overseas.
However, unlike last year, it is a very different and very challenging economic environment this year.
Singapore GP says it is spreading its wings further this time around.
Colin Syn, Singapore GP’s deputy chairman, said: "We still haven’t done road shows to various countries which we will be doing very soon to try and bring more people on and try and maintain last year’s numbers."
It is looking at untapped markets which include the Middle East.
F1 tickets go on sale on Thursday.