SINGAPORE: Singapore will host the Formula One night race for another seven years from 2022 to 2028, organisers said Thursday, after the coronavirus pandemic scuppered the event for two years running.
The street race around the city's Marina Bay financial district was held 12 times since its debut in 2008 and saw 268,000 spectators in attendance when it was last held in 2019.
But the pandemic forced the event out of the calendar in 2020 and 2021 as authorities imposed tough curbs to deal with the virus.
Singapore was the first night race in the Formula One calendar, offering a street circuit that runs through the heart of the modern city-state.
Organisers said this is the fourth contract renewal for Singapore and the seven-year extension is the longest for the race so far.
“This will give Singapore a longer runway to capture pent-up demand as international travel recovers,“ Singapore GP and the Singapore Tourism Board said in a joint statement.
Singapore is gradually opening up its borders and easing domestic curbs with most of its population fully vaccinated.
“We have decided to continue hosting the F1 race for another seven years, after thoroughly evaluating the long-term benefits that a term extension could bring to Singapore,“ Transport Minister S. Iswaran said.
“The Singapore F1 race continues to be a strong focal point for tourists, global events and business meetings.”
F1 president and chief executive Stefano Domenicali welcomed the extension of Singapore's hosting.
“Singapore holds a special place on the F1 calendar, and this extension is part of our long-term commitment to continue to grow the sport in Asia,“ he said.
Singapore's trade and tourism-reliant economy suffered its worst ever recession in 2020 due to the pandemic but rebounded back to growth last year.
The race has generated more than Sg$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion) in tourism receipts and attracted more than 550,000 international visitors since 2008, according to organisers. - AFP