“Good or bad, drama lifts the races from the typical monotony. It is the vital ingredient that will sustain the Singapore race and enrich the folklore that goes with the race” (Good Or Bad, It Takes Drama To Fill Seats, Mr. Chia Han Keong).
I refer to the article on the Singapore Grand Prix, “Good Or Bad, It Takes Drama To Fill Seats” (September 28, 2009), by Mr. Chia Han Keong.
Mr. Chia is right on the money when he suggests that drama has been an integral factor in stimulating and sustaining interest in this year’s Grand Prix. The onslaught of the Renault saga, coupled with the increasingly tight contest between Brawn and Red Bull, has proliferated interest amongst fans and non-fans alike. Moreover, the inherent challenge of the race – the heat and nature of the track, as alluded by many drivers – provides exciting climaxes in the middle of the race. All these characteristics of this year’s Grand Prix have converged to provide a more exciting and dynamic edition compared to the first.
However, all these peripheral factors – based on the Formula 1 organisation and the interactions of the entire racing season that are beyond the reach of Singapore – cannot be solely relied upon for future successes of the Singapore Grand Prix. There will come a time when the novelty of the night race would wear off, when the beauty of the skyline would be taken for granted, and even when the drama on the race-track subsides. There is the pertinent need for organisers to spice up the event itself, along with the sideline activities, to maintain the allure of the Grand Prix.
The assortment of parties and concerts have been a great first step. In addition, organisers should also explore alternatives to bring the Formula 1 fever into the heartlands, and allow more individuals to appreciate and comprehend the complexities and beauty of the race. This can be a perfect opportunity to enhance the sporting culture in Singapore; because even though many are aware of the Grand Prix, there is a dearth of knowledge with regards to the mechanisms and workings of the teams and drivers. Competitions can be organised in various institutions to encourage students to develop an interest for the sport, with race tickets as prizes for incentives. The potential activities are vast – from carefully-planned television programmes to heartland meet-the-drivers sessions – and if organisers can capitalise on the novelty and interest towards the race in its infancy, more Singaporeans would naturally be involved. As the event spiral upwards, the international appeal of the Grand Prix would be sustained.
The next Forumla 1 season would indeed be an exciting one, with the inclusion of new teams and drivers. The Singapore Grand Prix has to simultaneously up its ante to ensure that it remains an attractive and enticing event for everyone to indulge, enjoy, and to be thrilled.
A version of this article was published in My Paper.