Having the only night time circuit in the world, Singapore has become a favorite among F1 aficionados, after all this weekend isn't only about racing, this is an event, and a spectacular one at that. I decided not to write about the race itself but instead focus on the whole experience of attending an F1 extravaganza.
Interestingly, on our way into the city from the airport, I was astonished to hear from our taxi driver that a lot of locals were not too happy with Singapore's hosting the F1 weekend. They complained about the traffic that results from closing off several city streets, difficulty in finding cabs and of course the relentless noise. F1 cars can sound like fighter jets on wheels.
Originally thought to be on its last year in Singapore, it was announced just before the Qualifying round that there will be a 5 year extension (till 2107) of the races. There will still be lots of opportunities for you to plan on attending one.
F1 tickets don't come cheap, they range in prices from less than US$100 for a weekend pass to a grandstand with limited views up to more that US$3,000 for access to great seating, unlimited food and drinks, and the race pits. I met a few people who mentioned that they had "walk about" passes and I supposed that this did not gain them any seating privileges.
There are a host of scheduled activities on the track and off. Here is an example of a track schedule:
This is a sample of off-track activities available on the same day as the list above:
Yup, that's a Maroon 5 concert scheduled at the Padang Stage. Other performers of note were Katy Perry who had a concert Sunday evening after the race, also, Bananarama and The Pretenders. That's lead singer and songwriter Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders right there and she still has that beautiful melodious voice.
There are of course various venues throughout the more than 5 kilometer track. The organizers provide lots of information to ensure a maximum experience that is tailor fit to your needs.
The Bay Grandstand and the floating stage on the esplanade waterfront straddle one of the straightways of the course. National Day activities are also held in this venue.
On Friday, our first evening, we were invited to an elegant dinner before we headed out to the race track. This was to be a first exposure and I had no expectations whatsoever. We were lucky enough to be given VIP access to the Sky Suites. After we were given passes...
We boarded a ferry that took us to a Jetty just behind the track...
The Sky Suites were positioned higher than the grandstands and offered a great view of turns 1, 2 and 3 of the track. There were also giant LED screens all over the place so you can monitor the action elsewhere. Of course there was unlimited food and drinks till after midnight. Although I tried to limit my partaking of this feast it took all of my will power to resist the gustatory aromas wafting in the air.
One great advantage of being on this perch is that photographic opportunites were unhampered. I did my best to take as many photos as I could as I knew it wouldn't get any better than this. You didn't think you wouldn't see any cars did you?
We decided to call it a night at 10:30 pm as there were 2 more days of activities to contend with. We continue this in Part 2...
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