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DATE News (chronologically)
05/11/07
f1
Singapore GP confirmed for 2008  UPDATE #11 (GMM)  At a press conference on Friday, it was announced that Singapore will host a formula one grand prix for five years, starting in 2008.

The race will take place late in the season on a street circuit, but whether or not it will be a night event under floodlights has not yet been decided, an official for the government ministry of Trade and Industry said.

05/11/07 (GMM) The Singapore government will announce later on Friday whether it will help to fund a proposed formula one race in the Asian island city-state, wire reports said.

A statement from the country's Trade and Industry Ministry, scheduling a press conference for 5pm local time, confirmed the news, and other sources said an aide of the tycoon Ong Beng Seng - who has met with Bernie Ecclestone during the F1 negotiations - would be present.

It was reported this week that the chances for a street circuit night race had diminished because the government could not agree on how to help private organizers fund the $70 million project.

But other sources said the race had actually taken a step closer to fruition with the registration last Thursday of a company called Singapore GP Pte Ltd.

05/10/07 (GMM) Singapore has returned to the formula one headlines, amid confusion about the prospects for a grand prix in the Asian island city-state.

After a story appeared in the local Straits Times newspaper, it was widely reported that the chances for a night race on a street circuit had diminished because the government and private organizers could not agree on how to fund the $70 million project.

But another publication, the newspaper Today, headlined almost concurrently that the race had actually taken a "step closer" to fruition with the registration last Thursday of a company called Singapore GP Pte Ltd.

The news, alongside reports that the value of the company is $20m, "is seen as a signal that the much-waited announcement on the high-profile event is imminent," the newspaper said.

Some sources even suggest that an announcement about the race could come as early as this Sunday at the scene of the Spanish grand prix in Barcelona

03/28/07 Singapore's bid to host a Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix race could come to a winning finish as soon as Friday, a newspaper reported Thursday. "There are just a few loose ends left in the deal to tie up," a source close to the negotiations told The Straits Times.

Downtown Singapore would be converted into a giant race track for one night a year.  The deal would end two months of speculation and put the city-state on the map as one of the hosts for the world's most popular motorsport events.

Sources said that the first race could be held in either April or August 2008. It is estimated that 100 million Singapore dollars (65.7 million US dollars - wow, someone will lose a LOT of money!) is needed.

03/22/07 Commercial negotiations are under way and the Singapore government is prepared to offer support for hosting a Formula One race in the city-state, a cabinet minister said Thursday.  Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, declined to reveal details of the talks.  "Commercial negotiations are ongoing and in all these commercial transactions you don't really want to show all your cards," he said.  "Some government support will be necessary and we have indicated to the private parties concerned that some support is available," he told the Foreign Correspondents Association.

03/20/07 Talks for a race – to be held at night under floodlights in order to boost its appeal to a European TV audience – took place on Sunday when the new season got underway in Melbourne. Bernie Ecclestone is hoping to agree a deal with property billionaire Ong Beng Seng to secure a race, but he warned it was far from signed and sealed.

The F1 chief said: “We are looking into all the problems and trying to find ways to solve them. The trouble is the government of Singapore really want it to be a private enterprise. Beng Seng and I have been friends for many, many years and we are trying to put it together. If we don't get it done, it won't get done.”

Speculation that Beng Seng could secure the rights has seen shares in his Hotel Properties Ltd company rocket by more than 25 percent in recent weeks. [Editor's Note: Why would that be when every F1 race promoter is drowning in red ink?]

03/13/07 Bernie Ecclestone is in Singapore this week but says that no deal has been signed yet. “The reason I am here is to discuss that," he told Reuters when asked whether he had decided to partner with property tycoon Ong Beng Seng who plans to stage a race.  “No decision has been made."

03/06/07 As the drive to bring a Formula 1 (F1) race to Singapore's streets next year enters its final few turns, the Government has stepped on the accelerator, promising a cash injection. Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Minister of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran said: "An F1 race is a major financial undertaking for any business venture. It will require the Government's financial and other support to be commercially viable.

"The Government is willing to support such a venture up to a level commensurate with the broader benefits to the economy."

"That is why we are taking a very serious look at hosting a Formula 1 Grand Prix in Singapore," said the minister.

"Formula 1 is the third-most watched sporting event in the world, after the Olympics and World Cup. It is also a glamorous event — one that is attended by sports and entertainment celebrities alike."

Mr. Iswaran added that F1, which commands an annual global television audience of over 850 million, will also give Singapore access to an untapped market.

"The attention and 'buzz' that F1 generates will expose Singapore to a very different audience from that in the business and financial world," he said.

"It is a group we currently do not reach out to. An F1 race could also bring about broader tourism benefits and spill-over gains for associated industries."

A source close to luxury marina club developer Arthur Tay's camp welcomed the news. "It means the race will definitely come to Singapore," he said. He added that a meeting between the authorities and the two bidding camps was expected to take place "very soon" to chalk out the next step. It will invest funds in the venture, says minister.

03/05/07 (GMM)  F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has denied reports that said a deal was already in place for a night-time Singapore street race to be added to the grand prix calendar in 2008.

"We haven't entered into any agreement with anyone at the moment," the 76-year-old, albeit confirming negotiations with parties, told Reuters.

Regarding the news of a specific deal, Ecclestone insisted: "I don't know anything about it."

Proceedings in the Asian island-state's parliament on Monday, however, told a different story, when the minister for Trade and Industry indicated that a Singapore GP would likely attract government financial support.

The minister said: "I would say that the prospects are good, but there are still issues, such as the commercial terms to be struck between a potential race promoter and the F1 group, the level of support required from the government, and the extent to which other stakeholders come forward with their support.

"(But) we are taking a very serious look at hosting a formula one race."

03/03/07 Hot on the heels of South Africa's re-emergence on the formula one radar, it is being reported that Singapore is set to join the annual calendar as early as 2008.

The newspaper Today quoted a 'source' who confirmed that the project, with government support, could be given the green light next week for an April or August date.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is expected to travel to the island city-state, located in south east Asia, later this month.

"I can confirm that Singapore is on the calendar next year and it could either be the third race of the season, or towards the end of the season in August," the anonymous source said, explaining that he is bound by non-disclosure rules.

'Today' claims that the Singapore grand prix will be F1's first ever night race, on a city circuit.

01/27/07 (GMM) Bidders for a grand prix in Singapore have been handed a three-month deadline, according to reports.

The local newspaper 'Straits Times' said the inaugural race, probably to be run on a Hermann Tilke-devised street circuit, could be held next September but only if the promoter 'Hotel Properties' finalizes the deal with the series' bosses.

"We have to decide by April," an unnamed executive for the Singapore group, which is headed by the tycoon Ong Beng Seng, said.

"After that it'll be too late."

The source also revealed that speculation about Singapore becoming the scene of F1's first ever night race was correct.

01/15/07 (GMM) The proposed Singapore grand prix in 2008 might be formula one's first ever night race, according to local reports from the southeast Asian country.

The government-owned newspaper 'Today' revealed that F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke is merely awaiting the green light before making final plans for a 4.8 kilometer street layout in downtown Singapore.

The inaugural grand prix is touted for September 2008, and 'Today' journalist Ian de Cotta wrote: "The novelty factor goes up several notches as the race will be a night race —- perhaps the first in the world for a street circuit." [Editor's Note: There have been many night street races, including Champ Car in Houston.]

De Cotta adds that the unique timing would also help European and US viewers tune-in at "a more comfortable hour".

Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry did not comment specifically on the night-race speculation, but a spokesperson did confirm "discussions" with F1 officials and investors about staging a race.

"We are constantly on the lookout for investors and event organizers who wish to bring major events, such as (formula one), to Singapore," the spokesperson said.

"Several parties have expressed an interest in bringing F1 to Singapore and discussions are ongoing."

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