F1 sponsors cut back Corporate invitations to this year's Formula One race in Singapore have slowed down amid the recession, The Business Times (BT) reported on Wednesday.
At last year's first night race and Singapore's inaugural Grand Prix, tickets for hospitality suites and grandstand seats were distributed freely by numerous corporate sponsors. This year, that generosity seems to have virtually disappeared in light of the financial turmoil.
BT added that motor-related companies and banks which had F1 programs in 2008 have scaled back or completely cut down on such activities.
Daimler, for example, invited 70 guests to the Paddock Club in 2008 but this year, the number is closer to 30. Only business associates are on the list, unlike last year when some VIP customers were included.
The Paddock Club is situated in the Pit Building and is the most expensive hospitality suite available. Entry costs $8,000 per person this year.
The BT report also said that Shell, the fuels partner of the Ferrari team, has significantly reduced the number of invited guests, and these guests are restricted to a few Shell customers and business partners.
As for financial institutions, OCBC had booked a Paddock Club suite for about 100 people last year but is not taking part in F1 this year. The Royal Bank of Scotland, a major sponsor of the Williams F1 team, announced that it will not be renewing the F1 sponsorship deal when it expires at the end of the 2010 season. The bank suffered billions of dollars of losses amid the financial downturn.
Race promoter Singapore GP (SGP) said that 'close to 20 financial institutions have decided to entertain their valued clients at our event this year - approximately the same number as last year'.