SINGAPORE - After witnessing a climb in attendance last year, and raking in more than $1.4 billion in tourism receipts since 2008, Singapore will continue to host a Formula One race as long as "the price is right" and there is "a nett positive in terms of benefits to Singapore", Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat said on Saturday (Sept 7).
Speaking at the inaugural F1 Power Up Festival at Bishan Community Club, Mr Chee noted while the current hosting cycle ends in 2021, stakeholders have "started looking at what to do in terms of future plans".
He added: "It is something we will discuss with organisers. Everything has a price, we will look at the costs and benefits. If the price is right, we can continue to work together.
"F1 has been a very successful event for Singapore. It is one of our key tourism highlights. This is an important way for us to continue to make our tourism industry vibrant, by bringing in world-class events, and attracting tourists to come.
"It also gives us a chance to brand Singapore overseas because the race is broadcast to more than 840 million viewers worldwide. And when they see how beautiful Singapore is, I hope they have an interest to visit us.
Last year, the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix drew more than 263,000 fans over the three-day event, the second-highest attendance after the 300,000 at the inaugural race in 2008.
Since the first race, there have been about half a million international visitors to attend the race here.
In 2017, then Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran said the cost of hosting the race had decreased by about $15 million to $135 million.
Mr Chee also highlighted the importance of rejuvenating and refreshing the event "so that people can come enjoy themselves and they will come back again".
Twenty3, a new hospitality suite featuring Michelin-starred cuisine, was rolled out last year, while a new grandstand and entertainment venue in Empress Place, and single-day Premier Walkabout tickets were introduced in 2017.
"We have been putting in a lot of effort with our partners Singapore Grand Prix to grow the race over time so we don't just keep the format the same," said Mr Chee.
"Our F1 is unique in the world. It is the only night race in the city, and that allows us to do many different things. We have concerts, we have nice food, we have activities, it is an experience."
The F1 Power Up Festival, which ends on Sunday (Sept 8) after the screening of the Italian GP, features race simulators, race-themed games, exhibition panels and family-friendly activities.
Mr Chee said: "We want to bring F1 to the community so that more Singaporeans can get to enjoy F1, especially for the younger generation, for them to have interest in F1 and related activities because it is also linked to the learning of science, technology and engineering."