News and views on motorsports

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Reaction To Singapore

Stories about a Singapore Grand Prix have been out for the last couple of years. Surely the Malaysian government would have known this but its only now that they have expressed official concern over the event.

Bernie as usual is excited about the whole affair and with the money he earns from all these Eastern governments, why shouldn't he be? Bernie has said that a Singapore race could be featured as a night race around the streets of the island city state. And also that the Singaporean Grand Prix would be held at the end of the year whilst Malaysia could maintain its slot near the beginning of the season.

Speaking to a number of my friends and colleagues here in Malaysia, there seems to be some consensus among many Malaysians regarding these reports in the press.

First and foremost, no one I've met have any objections at all to a race in Singapore. In fact, if one was held most people I know would head South to watch it. Especially if it were held at night. Most Westerners may love to lounge in the sun but here in the East we try to avoid it as best as we can. In fact, a lot of motorsports events are held at night in Malaysia. Its a lot more comfortable to watch in the cool evening and more people would turn up. In fact, I think it would be absolutely fantastic if the Malaysian Grand Prix were a night event as well.

The drivers might not agree but I suppose Indycars have proven that night events are possible. All very well unless a monsoon hits at night (which happens a lot here) and maybe some floodlights go out in the process (as they are wont to do) and then the drivers will surely be up in arms.

But more than a question of night and day, the prospect of watching these grand prix cars racing in the streets is one that is welcomed by most people that I have spoken to over here. And the fact that it happens in Singapore is also welcomed for it promises a nice away weekend for all of us as well. So the Malaysian government might fret but I think the Malaysian people would relish it.

Speaking of the government, it is somewhat of a surprise to some Malaysians that they are fretting over this issue. The former PM might have been a motorsport enthusiast but the current one doesn't seem to quite share the enthusiasm. Neither does the current Sports minister who prefers her Taekwando and gymnastics and to a lot of racing folk over here, couldn't give bugger all about motor racing. Whatever their inclinations, a lot of folks here expected the government to simply give up the grand prix once 2009 comes around.

Whatever the government has in mind, I think a lot of people here are under the impression that its a fifty-fifty chance that the race will not survive once Singapore gets its race underway. Would we lamenting if that should come to pass? Well, yes, frankly. I've never been much of a fan of the Sepang Circuit but having a grand prix to watch (or at least the chance of it) in our backyard has always been a comforting thought. And after last weekend's qualy session, I am reminded again that these cars are thrill to watch live no matter where they are.

A lot of enthusiasts go over to the Sepang circuit on weekends for trackdays and other events. Perhaps we are all so used to it that we simply don't notice. But what on Earth is Bernie on about when he talks about rubbish all over the place at Sepang? During a grand prix weekend, of course you would expect that. Most people in the crowd will just leave their food wrappings on the spot. And I cannot imagine it to be worse than say Sao Paulo during a grand prix.

Having observed Bernie's constant sniping at Silverstone, I wonder if this isn't just an excuse to suck more money from the Malaysian people now that contract renewals are around the corner. Especially given the fact that in most people's eyes it just makes no sense to have two grand prix in such close geographical proximity to one another as Malaysia and Singapore are.

Then again, if Malaysia were to lose its race then I think it would definitely have some economic impact in terms of lost revenue. Just notice the number of Westerners in the stands, whether in the grandstands or in the cheap seats I sat at the last weekend. Not to mention the huge convoys of Singaporeans coming over from the South. But this mainly affects the tourism industry. The rest of us would feel a pinch.

We'd all be sad to see the Malaysian Grand Prix go but the silver lining to that cloud is that maybe the folks who manage Sepang would be more serious in developing motorsports in this country and be nicer to racers. Hopefully though this will not spell the end of the Sepang circuit itself because ever since some greedy twits decided to turn the old Batu Tiga Shah Alam circuit into a housing area its the only one we have in the Klang Valley area.

At the end of the day, if there is to be a Singaporean Grand Prix then bring it on. Its (almost) all good. The only bad thing is we'd have to face those pompous arrogant shites that are the Singapore customs and immigration.

1 comment: said...

Really racing in the night is not advantageous in the race for me it should be held at day.Much safer race on day event rather than night event race. The Singaporean government should develop the tourism industry in the country for continuing their economic progress to attract much tourist that is sports minded such as racings.Racing in the night might closer to an accident prefer to a day race. Specially racing in tne streets which may cause an accident.Proper racing area should be observe for racers safety as well as the spectators. To secure lives and properties.