F1: Ticket sales for Singapore GP up by 11 per cent despite uncertain economic climate

In particular, combination packages - which allow spectators to sit at different grandstands each day - are selling fast.
In particular, combination packages - which allow spectators to sit at different grandstands each day - are selling fast.PHOTO: SINGAPORE GP

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

Race organisers Singapore GP revealed on Saturday 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.

Amid an uncertain economic climate and the weakening currencies in key markets like Malaysia and Australia, Singapore GP executive director Michael Roche admitted his surprise 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.

"We hope to get around 86,000 fans each day - we have to pace it in order not to get into an over-crowding situation."

More than 84,450 tickets were sold 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 year, 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.

The Sept 18-20 showpiece will likely see another heated battle between Mercedes' title-chasing rivals, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. American rock band Bon Jovi will headline the off-track entertainment.

On Saturday, SIA also officially extended their title sponsorship for another two years until 2017. Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran witnessed the signing ceremony, and later unveiled the 2015 race trophy.

nsanjay@sph.com.sg