The Singapore Grand Prix will remain on the F1 2024 calendar despite the event being caught up in a corruption scandal, local authorities have insisted.
Singapore had the distinction of being F1’s first-ever night race when it joined the calendar in 2008, with the race quickly emerging as one of the most popular – and, for the drivers, most physically challenging – of any given season.
The impact of Singapore has spread to other venues, with the 2024 schedule featuring six night races in total – including the opening and closing rounds of the campaign in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi respectively.
Singapore to remain on F1 2024 calendar
After an unbroken run on the calendar, F1 made a triumphant return to Singapore two years ago after the 2020 and 2021 races were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Singapore produced one of the most memorable races of last season as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz became the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race in 2023, ending Max Verstappen’s record run of 10 straight victories in the process.
The future of the race appeared to come under threat on Thursday after Singapore transport minister S. Iswaran was charged with 27 offences in relation to dealings with Ong Beng Seng, a Malaysian businessman who owns the rights to the Singapore Grand Prix and acts as chairman of the race promoter.
Mr Iswaran has strenuously denies the charges, making clear his determination to clear his name. Mr Beng Seng has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
With Mr Beng Seng a key figure behind the Singapore Grand Prix, questions have been raised over whether the event – due to be held on September 22, seven days after F1 races in Baku – will remain on the 2024 calendar.
Yet Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry has declared itself satisfied that the deal to host the F1 race was not caught up in the scandal and will go ahead as planned.
A statement read: “The terms of all the agreements were considered carefully by the government. There was an independent consultancy study.
“There is nothing to suggest as of now that either the F1 contracts or other contracts were structured to the disadvantage of the government.
“All preparations for the F1 Singapore Grand Prix in 2024, which is scheduled for 20–22 September 2024, are on track.
“The F1 Singapore Grand Prix has also raised Singapore’s reputation as a vibrant Global-Asia node.
“Beyond the tourism sector, the race has also benefited many Singapore companies that are involved in different aspects of the race, [for example] in logistics, transport, construction and engineering services.”
Singapore will continue to host F1 until the end of 2028 after a seven-year contract extension was announced in January 2022.