SINGAPORE — The future of Formula One’s only night event, the Singapore Grand Prix (SGP), is still under negotiation with just one race to go before the current deal ends, the local organisers said Wednesday.
"What is presently on offer from Formula One Administration is insufficient for us to commit to a full five—year extension," SGP said in a statement.
"Negotiations have been going on for almost a year. SGP has received a formal renewal notice from Formula One Administration to confirm their wish to continue running the night race for a further five years," it said.
"Since then, SGP has been in talks to cement terms that offer commercial viability for the full five years. We remain hopeful at reaching an outcome that is mutually beneficial to all parties."
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), in a written response to Channel NewsAsia, also confirmed that negotiations are ongoing.
The remarks by Singapore Grand Prix and STB came after MediaCorp’s TODAY newspaper quoted Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone as saying that Singapore will host the night race for another five years after both sides agreed on the terms.
"Everything that was in the way of the Singapore Grand Prix continuing for another five years has been cleared," Ecclestone was quoted as saying in a front—page report on Wednesday.
"It has always been my intention to see that this race in Singapore continues beyond our current deal."
Mr Ecclestone’s remarks — made in an exclusive interview with TODAY in the British capital — came just hours after Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran told Parliament that negotiations were "still ongoing".
Earlier on Monday, in a written reply to a question by Holland—Bukit Timah GRC Member of Parliament Liang Eng Hwa, Mr Iswaran also reiterated that Singapore will continue to host the race "only if the terms for a full five—year extension are economically viable". "We hope to see a mutually agreeable outcome soon," he had added.
The last race under the current deal will be staged from 21—23 September.
Singapore in 2008 hosted the first night race in Formula One history and it soon became a hit with fans worldwide, with the brightly illuminated track running along landmarks in the financial and entertainment district.