Gearing up for Singapore GP with live audience despite uncertainty amid Covid-19

The Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix last year. At least four tenders related to the set-up of viewing facilities and ancillary activities for this year's Sept 20 race have been put up by the Singapore Tourism Board. ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR
The Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix last year. At least four tenders related to the set-up of viewing facilities and ancillary activities for this year's Sept 20 race have been put up by the Singapore Tourism Board. ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

While the fate of this year's Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix remains up in the air, preparations are under way for it to go ahead with a live audience.

At least four tenders related to the set-up of viewing facilities and ancillary activities for the Sept 20 Formula One race were put up by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) between February and last month, according to checks by The Straits Times.

These include the construction and fitting out of the Temasek and Singapore suites at the F1 Pit Building, shuttle bus services for suite guests and precinct parties to be held in Orchard Road and Clarke Quay.

Other tenders relate to works to be carried out at the F1 Pit Building and storage site in Tampines.

Promoter Singapore GP said last week that it is not feasible to conduct the race behind closed doors, given that it is a street circuit.

The Formula One season is expected to kick off in Austria in July without spectators, after a series of cancellations and postponements.

The request for proposal to organise and execute precinct parties is part of the Grand Prix Season Singapore, scheduled to happen from Sept 11 to 20.

Race-themed parties were first extended beyond the racetrack in the lead-up to last year's event, which drew 268,000 spectators over three days. Fringe activities including racing simulators, a carnival and live music were held in Orchard Road, Kampong Glam, Clarke Quay and Jewel Changi Airport.

Examples of the desired scale and variety of activities this year include a "mega outdoor party" in Clarke Quay and partnerships with nightclubs in the area, as well as branded race-themed activities in and around Orchard Road, according to tender documents seen by The Straits Times.

STB noted, however, that tenderers should factor the Covid-19 pandemic and any related regulations in their planning and proposals.

A contractor is expected to be appointed by early next month, according to the request for proposal, which closed last Thursday with seven bids.

 
 

The budget for the precinct parties is listed as between $490,000 and $590,000.

The tourism board said in response to queries that it is working closely with Singapore GP and other government agencies to assess the feasibility of proceeding with the race.

"Being a street circuit, more lead time for planning and preparation is required, which includes procurement," STB said.

If the event is called off, any awarded tenderers will be paid for work done, it said, adding that it will explore options to deploy the works for future use.

Asked about safe distancing measures at the parties and whether entertainment establishments in Clarke Quay are anticipated to reopen by September, STB said the Government will monitor and assess developments in the global and local Covid-19 situation to determine the appropriate timelines for the gradual resumption of more businesses and activities.

The Republic will be undergoing a phased reopening of its economy when it exits a two-month circuit breaker on June 2.

 
 

The first phase, which will last for at least four weeks, will allow more people to return to the workplace, while the second phase, which will span several months, will see shops and sports and recreation facilities reopen.

Social, cultural, religious and business gatherings are expected to resume by the third phase, with limits on gathering sizes.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2020, with the headline 'Gearing up for S'pore GP with live audience, parties despite uncertainty'. Print Edition | Subscribe