I was surprised to read the other day that a survey the Straits Times did last week found that 58% of people surveyed had no clue when the Singapore Grand Prix would be held (28th September 2008, with practice days on 26th and 27th). The fact that it is the first Asian street circuit Grand Prix, and the first ever night race, doesn't seem to have caught people's imaginations. The feeling is that there has been little publicity for the event, and no pre-event promotions.
At the Chingay Parade in February there was an F1 car giving an exciting and very noisy demonstration, and at the Singapore Science Centre until October 31 there is a special exhibition titled "The Science Of F1". But friends of mine visited over the weekend and were very disappointed. There is meant to be a variety of interactive displays that test the visitors' racing skills and motorsports knowledge, but these kept my friends interested for only 5 minutes, while other exhibits were out of order. What a shame. This could be a great way to build excitement leading up to the Grand Prix.
I'm sure the price of tickets turns people off (S$38 for a one-day pass-sold out, or up to S$2,588 for an Esplanade Premier Grandstand ticket) as does the image of a rich man's sport.
In Australia, the Grand Prix is another excuse to get drunk for a lot of people, with lots of excessive behaviour happening along the street circuit. My Adelaidean friends have vivid memories of the drunken brawls and skirmishes that would happen outside the numerous bars and pubs offering cheap beer along the street circuit( Adelaide hosted eleven Formula One Australian Grand Prix events from 1985 to 1995). Of course Singaporeans won't be indulging in this type of behaviour, but I wonder how the event will pan out. For most citizens it just means traffic jams, road closures and inconvenience.
For more information on the "Science of F1" exhibition, go to Singapore Science Centre.
For more information on Singapore Grand Prix, go to the official site.