F1 ‘rooms with a view’ may not have a view

F1 ‘rooms with a view’ may not have a view


Signages, lighting system may foil fans trying to get a free view




(SINGAPORE) Fans of the Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix hoping to get a free peek of the race – from the comfort of hotel rooms, for example, without forking out for the tickets – are likely to be disappointed during the Singapore leg.


Sources said that Singapore GP Pte Ltd, the organiser of the race here, is likely to put up fencing and advertisement hoardings which could obstruct views from ‘unofficial’ locations come Sept 28.


There are also plans for a lighting system that could make watching the race from such unsanctioned locations very hard, the sources said.


The news is unlikely to go down well with hotels, which have been selling rooms at up to three times the normal going rates for the week the race will be in town.


When contacted, Singapore GP told BT that ‘safety and operational measures’ such as safety fencing, advertising signages and the lighting system for a night race will need to be put in place for the event.


‘Once these are put in place, views of the race from unofficial locations may be obstructed,’ said Alastair Hunt, circuit park & events manager for Singapore GP. ‘At this point, there is no way that any venues along the circuit route would be able to guarantee unobstructed views of the Singapore Grand Prix.’


Sources said that the organisers could be looking to minimise ‘leakages’. This refers to the issue of people who don’t buy a ticket and instead watch the race from conveniently located properties – such as hotels and high-rise office buildings – along the route.


Most trackside hotels are charging two to three times their usual daily room rates during the peak race days.


Bookings have been strong for the race week, the hotels have said. In addition to Grand Prix fans flying in to watch what will be the world’s first night race, hotels are also seeing lots of corporate bookings, especially from multinational corporations with offices here which are looking to host staff and clients from overseas.


It was previously expected that in addition to watching from ticketed locations, fans will also be able to have a clear view of the race from numerous trackside hotels such as Swissotel The Stamford, Pan Pacific, The Oriental, Marina Mandarin, The Fullerton and Ritz Carlton.


But even as customers have been snapping up rooms and F1 packages from the hotels, most hotels are not offering any kind of ‘view guarantee’.


‘Demand for the rooms is very strong,’ said Cheryl Ng, Pan Pacific’s public relations manager. ‘But we do not offer any kind of view guarantee.’


Said Singapore GP: ‘To be assured of the best views and overall race experience, tickets and corporate packages should be bought directly from Singapore GP.’


The organiser is working to maximise the viewing locations for the race due to the overwhelming interest. Ticket sales have already started, and more tickets will be released for sale once Singapore GP secures agreements with other partners, it said.


But some fans are worried that if non-paying spectators are kept away from the circuit, it will deflate the very ‘buzz’ the race hopes to generate for Singapore.


The F1 race is one of several initiatives geared towards achieving the government’s target of attracting 17 million visitors to Singapore by 2015.


Source: Business Times

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