IN A WEEK of significance, when a new President ghosted in uncontested, a long drawn out saga about the future of Formula 1 racing in Singapore was hammered to an expected conclusion.
Both had the respective machineries churning and working overtime to come to an agreement that would please the power brokers and give Singapore something to look forward to in a time of uncertainty and few opportunities in hand.
The way the elected Presidency was resolved failed to satisfy many members of the public due to the fact that there was no voting done as Halimah Yacob was installed by virtue of a selection process that disqualified the majority of the population.
Similarly, the decision on the fate of the F1 race was as much out of the hands of the public.
Although public funds are being used to bear 60% of the cost of the spectacle the decisions behind the future of the race were always taken away from the public eye.
Eventually a cheaper deal was struck — a $15 million saving. But the cost of $135 million will still come with encumbrances to those working around the track. Admittedly, with Singaporean efficiency and well-schooled expertise, the processes are now smoother. Or maybe people just stay away to avoid the inconvenience.
Keeping the announcement of the decision regarding the future of Formula 1 to the week of the race itself must have helped ticket sales. Last year saw the lowest daily attendance in nine years, but this year’s number went up by almost 20% to 260,400.
Showers And Spills
In the 10th Singapore F1 race we finally had rain. It proved epic as it meant teams struggled to figure out their tyre strategy and how to handle a wet road track.
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The safety car was kept busy, as it is every year in this fixture, as the race started off with a crash between the two frontrunners from Ferrari.
For Ferrari this record is one to be forgotten. Both cars were in the first two rows of the grid and both killed off the Italian car maker’s challenge when Sebastian Vettel crashed into his team mate Kimi Raikkonen when the lights turned green.
That cleared the way for Englishman Lewis Hamilton, whose driving style is quite well suited for the wet weather. Hamilton streaked ahead and held on to win the shortened race (58 of the scheduled 61 laps due to the two-hour time limit) quite comfortably.
As the fireworks went off Singapore had something to celebrate. It had hung on to something which would at least keep the world’s focus on some positive takeaways – its pretty skyline and competitive wins that are hard-fought.