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Mice Asia Net : October 2008
news facilities, infrastructure and proposed track topped the others, and upped the ante by suggesting a night race under a state-of-the-art lighting system. The battle for a place on the Grand Prix calendar during the 1960s and 1970s was much less competitive. Independent circuits, mostly in Europe’s rural areas, attracted faithful F1 fans who often camped at the track. The sport was not well known outside racing circles, though the general public was aware of the Monaco Grand Prix and drivers like Jackie Stewart. F1 didn’t begin realising its commercial value until Formula One supremo and then Team Brabham owner, Bernie Ecclestone, began turning his vision into today’s reality that is peaking in Singapore. The process started in a tiny village in upstate New York, Watkins Glen, which ran its first US Grand Prix in 1948. The drivers praised the track for its sweeping turns and elevation changes, but sponsors condemned it in 1981, citing a lack of facilities, a four-hour drive from New York City and an unpaid US$800,000 bill to the teams. Ecclestone took the show to a parking lot behind Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas where hospitality is king, but it flopped. However, the wheels were in motion for turning the fledgling sport into one that today attracts billions in sponsorship dollars and the largest TV audience of any annual sporting series in the world. Tracks quickly upgraded their facilities to meet Ecclestone’s vision, as rural venues were bumped for easy-to-access circuits in cosmopolitan centres like Melbourne and Montreal. With Singapore’s night race and top-flight facilities on the streets around Marina Bay, Ecclestone’s dream has entered a new realm. Corporations demanding the absolute best for their guests at the Singapore Grand Prix purchased a Paddock Club Suite for 50 persons for SGD375,000. Situated directly above the teams’ garages in the Pit Building at 1 Republic Boulevard, The Paddock Club Suites offer thrilling views of the action along the pit straight and pit lane. The 350-metre-long Pit Building is a key piece of race infrastructure which housed important race facilities, such as race control, the media centre, winners’ podium, as well as the 23,000 square metre Paddock Club and its 50-guest suites. The spectacular location over pit lane in a glass-front suite with private bar and gourmet dining along with unrivalled service and VIP privileges makes the Paddock Club Suite a much sought-after invitation as well as a memorable experience. Paddock Club guests received VIP access to the pit area during scheduled walks, free flow of premium wine and champagne, complimentary open bar from 3pm to 11pm and deluxe meal services including an arrival tea, dinner and light supper with menus that rival any fine gourmet restaurant. The Pit Grandstand Suites sit directly across from the Paddock Club on the pit straight as well as pit entry and exit, and The Turns Grandstand Suites offer purpose- built five-star hospitality facilities and services. The two-level Marina Sky Suites, with an outdoor viewing area in front and an open-air sky deck above with a lounge, ran at SGD6500 per person. Single-level Marina Club Suites, located just below the Sky Suites, offered similar facilities and services for SGD5000. Both suite types were equipped with their own bar and offered the same style menu as the Paddock Club. ABOVE: Photo by Eric Damagnez. Courtesy of Singapore GP Pte Ltd. OPPOSITE: St Andrew’s Road. Photo by Kenny Pek. Courtesy of Singapore GP Pte Ltd. miceAsia.net 5