F1 ticket sales increase by 11%

Higher demand from local and overseas fans reflects surging interest in signature night race

SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong (left) and Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran unveil this year's Formula One Singapore Grand Prix trophy.
SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong (left) and Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran unveil this year's Formula One Singapore Grand Prix trophy.PHOTO: SINGAPORE AIRLINES

Into its eighth year, the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix remains a hit with speed junkies around the world.

Race organisers Singapore GP revealed yesterday that ticket sales for the world's only full night race are up by 11 per cent from the same stage last year.

In particular, combination packages - which allow spectators to sit at different grandstands each day - are selling fast for the Sept 18-20 showpiece.

Pit grandstand tickets for Sunday's race day, priced at $888, are sold out.

Amid an uncertain economic climate and weakening currencies in key markets like Malaysia and Australia, Singapore GP executive director Michael Roche admitted that he was surprised at the surge in the demand.

"There were a lot of threats we were concerned about but, touch wood, we are very, very happy with the response," Roche told reporters on the sidelines of the Light Up The Night fan interaction carnival at the F1 Pit Building.

"In fact, we have added four more blocks of seats across the pit straight and doubled the height of Stamford Grandstand from last year."

More than 84,450 tickets were sold each day for last year's edition - slightly lower than the previous year, but the third-highest attendance registered since 100,000 thronged the inaugural race in 2008.

This time around, it helps that national carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA), which replaced Singtel as title sponsor in April last year, has had more lead time to sell its all-in-one travel packages - comprising airfare, accommodation and admission to the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Backed by strong interest from F1 hotbeds Britain, Germany and Australia, Roche is targeting 86,000 fans to cross the turnstiles daily at this year's race.

He said: "We have to pace it in order not to get into an over-crowding situation.

"We have learnt our lesson from the first year, when it was so crowded that people could barely move."

Fans can expect another heated battle between Mercedes' title-chasing rivals, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. American rock band Bon Jovi will headline the off-track entertainment.

Yesterday, SIA officially extended their title sponsorship for another two years until 2017. The deal is rumoured to be worth just under $10 million per edition.

Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran witnessed the signing ceremony, and later unveiled the 2015 race trophy.

He also toured the weekend carnival, where the public can try driving simulators and watch a supercar parade and stunt-driving displays.

SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong said it was "not a difficult decision" to extend their F1 tie-up, pointing to the sport's global appeal and brand awareness.

He added: "We have seen good interest in our F1-related packages in overseas markets so it makes sense for us to remain involved.

"With this being a special year for our country, we will look to bring the SG50 feel to the coming race with special events and merchandise."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 23, 2015, with the headline 'F1 TICKET SALES INCREASE BY 11%'. Subscribe