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the above two charts show share prices of Hotel Properties and Genting. Genting rose from 35c to 1.10 in a short time when it was awarded the Sentosa hotel-casino site (with a panic shortly afterwards when the government objected to its partner Star Cruise's connection with Stanley Ho - Genting bought out Star Cruise's share). Hotel Properties had a positive reaction too rising $1 because of the expectation of improved tourism generally. However, it then had an even bigger rise, almost $3, when the government indicated the likely approval of F1 car racing - tourism was supposed to boom generally benefiting all hotels, but HP was supposed to benefit especially, because its CEO Ong Beng Seng was active in promoting the idea and had some cnotact with the F1 top circles. The exact financial benefit for HP was not quite clear to me, but then I was also not sure when Genting would start to make money from its casino, considering how long it takes to build it with all the financing and holding costs as well. Other investors, obviously, knew more than I.

When organizing the F1 races in Singapore finally got under way, it was Singapore Telecom that was takign charge; I have no idea why a phone company is taking care of car racing, nor where HP fits in. In any case, I just read in Straits Times

June 20, 2008 
F1 hotels still have lots of room
  • Trackside hotels: Only one out of 11 checked is fully booked
  • Non-trackside hotels: Some are less than half-full for race period
  • Rates lowered: Expect to pay about $200 to $500 less

By Lim Wei Chean

SINGAPORE plays host to the first Formula One Grand Prix night race in just three months, but hotel rooms are not filling up as quickly as expected.

Yesterday, a Straits Times check with 11 hotels alongside the downtown track showed just one, the 507-room Conrad Centennial Singapore, already booked up.

A survey of 10 other non-trackside hotels showed that there are plenty of rooms still available, with some major establishments less than half-full for days around the Sept 26-28 race.

Hotels were banking on big profits during the Grand Prix, which is expected to draw up to 100,000 visitors and add from $100 million to $150 million to tourism coffers.

An industry player, who declined to be named, said that the latest reservation numbers are a let-down.

'The big demand surge that hoteliers expected never quite materialised,' said the player.


well 3 months are a long time, and presumably there will be local people who would book into the hotels last minute (especially if attractive short stay packages are offered), but I am puzzled what it was all about. How did people get all excited about this? Well patronized or not, it is only a car race, and considering the cost involved in getting the streets ready for the night race after the offices close and getting them ready again for the people to drive/walk through for their normal life, the economics of the venture has never been clear to me. I am OK with people wanting it having it, but why want it so badly?

Like the bungy machine in River Valley, F1 is another sign of the "opening up" of Singapore; I am OK with opening up too, and would not care if section 377A (which bans male homosexual acts, though it is normally not enforced against consensual adult acts in private) is repealed one day; but still, why get so excited? Again, others no doubt had their reasons.

But perhaps Singtel knew what to expect and what not to expect from its F1 franchise; it was so quiet about the whole venture that, till tickets went on sale, I did not know Singtel was organizing it. I think F1 is more a social service to Singtel than a new business initiative. However, initial response was so high that the ticket website crashed. I have no idea how things have developed since then - as a Singtel shareholder, like millions others in Singapore who got their shares when its was fashionable for everyone to own shares, I ought to care, but I dont.

added on 4/7/08

just read on ST article on various logistic issues for the car racing: a number of roads will be closed, some for considerable no. of days, and fences are being constructed, both for safety and to prevent people not buying tickets from seeing the race; it all seems very expensive

went and took a photo myself, lunchtime before the sunday evening race on 28/9/06, the viewing stand near Raffles City, using a wide-angle lens sideways - the bottom half was cropped; had to be that way to keep the buildings vertical

Cut costs or F1 broke by 2010 - Mosley

END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT? International Automoibile Federation president Max Mosley has warned that Formula 1 racing could be dead be 2010 if costs don't decline. Image: AFP

October 8, 2008

Formula 1 racing will survive for only one more year unless drastic spending cuts are implemented, International Automoibile Federation president Max Mosley has warned.

Mosley, who is supposed to stand down in 2009, said the sport's future was under threat because of the rising costs of running a team; he highlighted the fate of Super Aguri.

The Japanese outfit dropped out of the championship after the Spanish GP because it was broke and Mosley fears at least two more teams may also have to withdraw from the championship.

"The sport will become unsustainable if we lose two more teams," Mosley told BBC Sport
Two more teams may have to withdraw from the championship
. "Only 16 cars would cease to be a credible grid.

"Some automakers are already having difficulty if you look at their share prices."

Mosley insisted that F1 could not afford to survive on billionaires' handouts and should become more cost-effective to survive - regardless of the current financial climate.

"This hasn't been prompted by the credit crunch. This is something for which I've been campaigning for two or three years. It had become apparent long before the present economic difficulties that F1 was unsustainable.

"If we can't get this sorted by 2010 we will be in serious difficulty. We can survive 2009 but I'm not to sure about after that.

"You can't run a business when the outgoings are two to three times the income. It now depends on billionaires subsidising teams
'This hasn't been prompted by the credit crunch'

Mosley said simple cost-cutting would help, even with the enormous financial clout that Ferrari, McLaren and BMW are able to wield over their competitors.

"There are things we can do. The most obvious would be to reduce the cost of the car," he said. "The engine and gearbox costs (the equivalent of) about R325-million a year but could be done for five percent of that without anybody in the grandstand noticing.

"We have ways to makesure the big spenders don't spend so much but that would mean some draconian measures." - AFP


Oct 9, 2008
SMRT dismisses Red Bull claim
By Wang Meng Meng
The gearbox malfunctioned in Mark Webber's car during the Singapore Grand Prix, causing the driver to retire on Lap 28. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
NO MRT train runs directly below Turn13 of the Singapore Grand Prix's Marina Bay street circuit.

Yesterday, train operator SMRT issued this reply to Red Bull, after the Formula One team blamed static from a train passing underground for causing Mark Webber's car to stall during the Sept 28 race.


The team claimed the train caused an electrical surge in the Australian's car, forcing the driver, who was then in second place, to retire after 28 laps of the world's first night F1 race.

An SMRT spokesman said: 'There is no MRT track beneath Turn 13 (junction between Anderson Bridge and Esplanade Drive). The nearest MRT tunnel (north-bound from Raffles Place MRT Station to City Hall MRT Station) is about 200m away, with a depth of about 10m.

'In addition, train wheels and running rails are made of metal and therefore do not generate static electricity charges during train operations.'

Last week, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told Autosport that at Turn 13, Webber's gearbox had selected two gears simultaneously. It was the car's first mechanical failure of the season.

Horner added: 'We could see a momentary electrical surge at the precise moment, which seemed to have triggered the problem.

'It was exactly what Toro Rosso suffered from with Sebastien Bourdais in Friday's (Sept 26) practice, at exactly the same place.

'A tram line runs beneath the track at that corner and it seems as if static from a passing tram at the very moment Mark was at the corner passed through the ground.'

But Associate Professor Seah Kar Heng of the National University of Singapore's department of mechanical engineering disagreed with Horner, noting that the chances of a malfunction were 'very slim'.

Explained Assoc Prof Seah: 'For the MRT train to cause the problem is not impossible, but highly unlikely.

'Even if a train is running at the same time the F1 car was at Turn 13, the sheer distance of 200m will mean that the effect caused by static decreases to the extent that it is virtually impossible for the surge to happen.'

He also pointed out that all F1 cars have magnetic shielding to insulate the gearboxes from the magnetic fields generated by their own engines.

Assoc Prof Seah added: 'If there is sufficient shielding against the car engine, which is situated just next to the gearbox, an MRT train passing 200m away should have no effect.'

The Red Bull team did not respond to queries at press time.