APRIL 11, 2005
Studies in Singapore
Singapore has been thinking about F1 - and talking about it - for nearly 20 years. The Singapore Grand Prix was a regular feature in Asian racing in the 1960s and early 1970s with a mix-and-match set of machinery on a road circuit which incorporated sections of Thomson Road, although this never hosted F1. Motor racing was banned in Singapore in 1973 but in the late 1980s Singapore became what Bernie Ecclestone called "a serious candidate" for an F1 Grand Prix with plans for a purpose-built circuit close to Changi Airport. The race was to have been funded by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board and the organisers of the Australian GP in Adelaide were brought in to help develop the idea. Land near Changi was set aside to be used for a racing circuit but the ground proved to be unstable and was eventually turned into a golf course.
The idea is back, however, as the Singapore Motor Sports Association is working in league with the Japan's GT Association to look for a potential street venue in Singapore, the aim being to run rounds of the Super GT series there in the future. But SMSA president Matthew Lee has bigger plans than that. He wants a Grand Prix as well and has already met with the Singapore Tourism Board to discuss the project. A 2.3-mile track has been identified and Lee says that he needs to find around $15m a year to pay race fees and another $30m to get the track ready to be used.
The future of the Malaysian Grand Prix is not officially in doubt for some years to come but the Sepang circuit in Kuala Lumpur is not having the effect intended (at least not obviously). A large majority of the crowd come north from Singapore to see the F1 racing in Sepang. However, Singapore is a story we have heard before and nothing has come of them.
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