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Singapore dressed up to party like it’s 2019 for F1’s return | Racing News

SINGAPORE: With tickets selling fast and party suites costing up to $70,000 a night, Singapore put the pedal to the metal when it hosts the first Formula 1 race in Asia this weekend since the pandemic.
Tens of thousands of fans are expected to gather for the Singapore Grand Prix from Friday to Sunday as the night race roars back after a two-year absence due to Covid.
Adding to the party mood, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen kept his world title on the illuminated street circuit around the Marina Bay neighborhood.
But one of the most glamorous races on the F1 calendar has always been about more than just racing.

Off the track, the city-state lets loose with concerts from Westlife, Black Eyed Peas and Suede, plus American rapper Fatman Scoop and Dutch DJ Oliver Heldens.
More upscale parties offer caviar and champagne on the menu, and guests can enjoy an F1-themed “Roaring Dinner Feast” and “Fuel Up Brunch.”
About 25 business meetings and events, including the Forbes Global CEO Conference, are also planned, allowing executives to combine work and play.

“It sends a signal to the world that Singapore is back to work and that our ability to host world-class, high-quality events continues unabated,” Ong Ling Leean executive director of Singapore Tourism Board (STB), told AFP.
Authorities have not released any figures, but ticket sales for Singapore’s biggest event since the pandemic have already surpassed 2019 when 268,000 spectators watched, Ong said.
Race tickets cost from Sg$98 ($70) to nearly Sg$10,000.

Singapore has lifted all Covid restrictions except wearing masks on buses and subways, after vaccinating most of its population of nearly six million people and deciding to live with the virus.
“From a global perspective, this is the brightest light shining on Singapore since the pandemic,” Song Seng Wunan economist at CIMB Private Banking told AFP.
“This is the biggest coming-out-of-covid celebration in Singapore.”
Covid ravaged Singapore’s economy with its deepest recession ever in 2020 and the number of visitors dropped to 330,000 in 2021, from 19.12 million in 2019.

But earlier this year it shifted to endemic and last week it overtook Hong Kong as Asia’s top financial center on a global ranking.
Singapore’s emphatic opening has put “pressure” on other Asian economies such as Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong to also ease travel restrictions, Song said.
“Formula 1 also puts Asia in the spotlight when it comes to who gets back to work seriously.”
Hotel bookings were fast, even with room rates estimated to be up to 50 percent higher than before Covid.
Prices have risen to over Sg$2,000 per night, especially for those around the track.

“There is a lot of demand for racing enthusiasts looking forward to coming back to Singapore,” said Marcus Hannadirector of Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford.
For many, socializing is just as important as racing.
F1 after-party specialist Amber Lounge has a “Noir Suite” for up to 25 people at the five-star Fullerton Bay Hotel, which costs Sg$100,000 per night. The hotel’s F1-inspired dishes include a “Pit Stop Cake”.
The nearby Marina Bay Sands casino and hotel complex offers a “Mandala Weekenderwhere guests can enjoy a variety of musical entertainment and parties.
American hip hop duo Rae SremmurdGrammy-nominated recording artist Kelis and popular British drum and bass musicians Rudimental can be seen, among others.

The tourism board said F1 has generated more than Sg$1.5 billion in tourism revenue since its debut in Singapore in 2008.
“For me it’s not just about the race, I want to go around to see who’s coming to the party, to see if the buzz has come back,” said Song, the economist.
“I think it’s back with a vengeance.”

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