Singapore F1 – For about a week in September every year, it is a little tricky to negotiate the roads in the heart of the city and a number of shops in the area grumble at the decline in foot traffic.
Squashed in between the week is a three-day race weekend, when every night is hot and humid and train stations downtown are jammed with fans from early evening.
There are crowds to weave through, temporary no-entry and no-exit signs, barricades and barking volunteers to contend with and a maddening dash for many thousands to catch the headline act at a heaving, sweaty Padang.
It is why Singapore’s Formula 1 Grand Prix is one of the most celebrated races on motorsports’ annual calendar.
Ahead of the 12th edition of Singapore’s Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend, the spectre of haze clouds the race and the prayer is for winds to blow right over the next few days.
But no one can argue that the blueprint for this Grand Prix was audacious, and it was given life by gifted planners and technicians. And that Singapore pulled off a stunning feat of engineering and organisation that is exciting enough to repeat itself every year.
Where the heart of the city, with its key financial district and array of hotels, restaurants, businesses and other amenities continue to hum as its roads morph into a race track consistently run over by Mercedes machines, Red Bulls, Ferraris and McLarens, lit up by extra powerful temporary street lamps under the night sky.
The Singapore Grand Prix is where the trinity of sport, entertainment and business mesh beautifully every year, offering something for so many, and decision-makers around the world very quickly took notice
There is always the worry over security, and of late the haze, and this is an expensive exercise, costing the Government $135 million every year while promoter Singapore GP Pte Ltd foots the remaining 40 per cent of the bill.
It set a new standard in Formula 1 that South Korea, India, Azerbaijan, Mexico, Abu Dhabi and Russia all itched to be the latest members in the elite pool of hosts.
Today, the races in Korea and India are no more, and Sepang in Malaysia decided not to renew its Formula 1 rights as it could not compete with its neighbours across the Causeway.
It is tough to pull this off, but Singapore did and Singaporeans should be proud.