Retailers in city area gearing up for F1 night race

Kingsmen Exhibits setting up the grandstands for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix.
Kingsmen Exhibits setting up the grandstands for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix.PHOTO: SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX

Retailers in the city are gearing up for the Formula One race in two weeks with special promotions and extended hours, and even hiring extra staff and ordering more stock to cater to crowds.

The night race - at the Marina Bay Street Circuit from Sept 15 to 17 - could also be Singapore's final one, with the Government still in the midst of negotiating an extension to rights to the race.

As of July, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and F1 owners Liberty Media were still in talks for an extension to F1's only full night race.

However, hotels and food and beverage operators, which have been enjoying brisk business during race weekends since 2008, are keeping their fingers crossed for an extension.

Mandarin Oriental Singapore said it enjoys full occupancy during this period because it has "track-facing rooms and suites, and floor-to-ceiling windows offering fans of the race an uninterrupted view of turns 16 and 17".

Its communications director Usha Brockmann said the hotel is hopeful of an extension.

The hotel is transforming its Axis Bar and Lounge, which has views of the circuit, into an oyster and champagne bar for that weekend.

Meanwhile at The Fullerton Hotel, which is trackside, there will be an F1 simulator at its bar and guests with the best timings will get prizes.

Restaurants are also pulling out all the stops to cater to the expected crowds.

Ms Sherry Chan, operations manager of the Brotzeit outlet at Raffles City Shopping Centre, said the outlet will be extending its operating hours, and closing two hours later at 4am.

The restaurant is also deploying staff from its other outlets to beef up manpower during the race weekend.

Drinks Bar at Pasarbella Suntec is going to put in extra orders with its suppliers for the weekend, while tenants at Clarke Quay are running promotions for F1 ticket holders, including specially crafted cocktails named after F1 drivers at Tomo Izakaya.

Raffles City Shopping Centre, which is at the heart of the race track, is setting up a mock podium for shoppers to take photos, and also exhibiting art pieces to do with "all things fast and edgy", said a CapitaLand spokesman.

A Marina Bay Sands spokesman said: "In previous years, we have hosted F1 drivers and held F1-related activities across the integrated resort, and we look forward to being a hot spot for this year's race season again."

But not all businesses are as busy or care too much whether there will be a Singapore race extension.

District 10 bar at Suntec City said the road blocks for the race affect foot traffic to the mall every year.

Founder of retailer Megafash Ngeow Jiawen said the same of her Suntec outlet. "The past few years have been quiet. But I'm still optimistic, so we are considering running some F1 promotions."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2017, with the headline 'Retailers in city area gearing up for F1 night race'. Print Edition | Subscribe