Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Singapore Starts works For September Grand Prix

Singapore on Friday started the construction of its Formula One Grand Prix facilities at the Marina Bayfront with a groundbreaking ceremony for the new pit building, which will be completed by the end of May next year.

Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang said at the groundbreaking ceremony that the event marks an important milestone in the country's preparations to host the F1 race in September next year.

Although the F1 Singapore Grand Prix is set to flag off in a year's time, the infrastructure will have to be up in about nine months, he said, adding that he has full confidence that they will be ready for the Sept.28 race date as Singapore is a city of possibilities.

The estimated 33 million Singapore dollars (about 21.7 million U.S. dollars), three-storey pit building, a key element in the infrastructure of the F1 Singapore Grand Prix, will house the race control facilities, team garages, hospitality lounges for about 4, 000 guests, a media center and other facilities.

The pit building, which will measure some 350 meters long, has been designed to be simple yet modern, and also environmentally sustainable.

The facility, along Singapore's waterfront, will provide 36 garages for 12 racing teams on the ground floor.

"Today's groundbreaking event marks an important milestone in our preparations to host the F1 race in September next year," Lim Neo Chian, chief executive of Singapore's tourism board, said at the site.

Singapore will stage its first Grand Prix street circuit race on September 28 next year.

"The pit building that will rise from this piece of land that we now stand on will be one significant milestone that all will watch closely," said Lim Hng Kiang, minister for trade and industry.

"In terms of physical work, this is the first step," Nick Syn, technical manager for the race promoter, Singapore GP Pte Ltd, said.

The tourism board said the glass-fronted building, should be finished by next June.

Lim Neo Chian said the Federation International de L'Automobile (FIA), the sport's governing body, would soon confirm whether a night race could go ahead.

"Preliminary lighting trials were conducted in France last month. Another series of trials has been scheduled for next month before the decision is taken by FIA," he said.

Confirmation of the final circuit layout is also expected next month from FIA, Lim said. "The event will help to inject buzz and vibrancy to Singapore," he added.

The race is expected to bring in incremental tourism receipts of about $100 million annually and attract 80,000 fans

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