Singapore F1: Closed-doors event is almost impossible, may be cancelled


  • AseanPlus News
  • Saturday, 16 May 2020

SINGAPORE: Singapore Grand Prix promoters have ruled out holding their Formula One race without spectators, casting further uncertainty over the likelihood of the September event going ahead.

Formula One plans to start its stalled season in July with races behind closed doors in Austria and Britain due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The sport has not given up on crowds returning later in the year, however.

Singapore GP promoters told The Straits Times newspaper on Saturday that they were maintaining an open dialogue with Formula One but it was "not feasible to conduct the race behind closed doors".

"The top priority remains the well-being and safety of our fans, volunteers, and all Singaporeans," a spokesman said.

He added "works typically require three months to complete, and this will depend on whether such activities are permitted under the prevailing government regulations".

The spokesman added: "The calendar for the 2020 season is currently being finalised and Singapore GP has been maintaining an open dialogue with F1, the Singapore Government and our stakeholders during this time, to assess different possibilities.

The clock is also ticking to get the 5.063km, 23-turn layout ready.

The spokesman noted there is considerable temporary infrastructure to be set up, such as stands for fans as well as the lighting for the night race, and "sufficient lead time to complete the construction of the various components must be factored in (and) works typically require three months to complete, and this will depend on whether such activities are permitted under the prevailing government regulations".

The Singapore Government on Friday said building contractors can gradually resume operations from June 2, starting with critical projects such as MRT works, deep tunnelling of sewerage systems and residential renovation projects that were suspended, but they must put in place new safe distancing requirements.

Last year's race on the Marina Bay street circuit was watched by 268,000 spectators over the three days, with overseas visitors making up 40% of the crowd.

Formula One has yet to publish a revised calendar, with three races cancelled and seven postponed so far, but draft versions have appeared on the internet without featuring Singapore.

The island nation has reported nearly 27,000 cases of coronavirus, the highest per capita infection rate in Asia, largely due to mass outbreaks in cramped accommodation for foreign labourers.

The government has ordered a nationwide lockdown due to run until June 1. - The Straits Times/Asian News Network
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