Where did he get the numbers? ST's Leonard Lim claims that $260 million in incremental tourism receipts were generated from the 2008 and 2009 Singapore F1 races. He also bets that this year's bumper will exceed last year's $93 million. Which means 2009 numbers had plummeted from the $167 million of the inaugural 2008 "world's first night race". No wonder Minister of State Iswaran said that any talk about extension of the 5 year contract will have to survive a robust cost-benefit analysis.
Lim himself makes mention of the Turkish Grand Prix which saw its 100,000 fans of 2005 dwindle down to 50,000. The 200,000 capacity Shanghai International Circuit had an attendance of 30,000 diehards in 2009 and 85,000 this year. And you thought the YOG turnout was bad. According to TIME, average 3-day attendance for the newer races in Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Korea fell from 187,724 in 2008 to 161,613 in 2009." In Bahrain, all you could see in the stands were a few civil servants, " said an attendee.
Moneywise, the Australian Grand Prix bled the city of Melbourne A$130m over the past 3 years. The mayor of London Ken Livingstone cut a deal with Amaury Sports Organisation for the first stage of 2007 Tour de France in London at $2.7m, telling Bloomberg it was "dramatically less" than the cost of a Grand Prix. Formula 1 is too expensive even for London. After the Montreal race was axed from the calendar, the Canadian Grand Prix authorities said, "The actual business model implemented by the owners (of F1) and F1 teams is no longer feasible."
As for the night skyline the government officials keep harping about, professional photographers have lamented that an earlier start of the race would have yielded better pictures.
The on-site experience at Singapore Grandstands is literally a blur, as you can't possibly focus on cars zipping past at 200+ kph. On television, the cars, thanks to limited opportunities for overtaking, look like schools kids queuing up to see the principal. Or Singapore tariffic waiting for the ERP gantry to change status. What the race needs is some of the track excitement in Iron Man 2.