Singapore F1 extension not a done deal: S’pore GP

Organisers have denied claims that an agreement has been reached to extend the S'pore GP for another five years (Getty Images)Organisers have denied claims that an agreement has been reached to extend the S'pore GP for another five years …

Race promoter Singapore GP has slammed the brakes on a local media report that claims Singapore will continue hosting the F1 for the next five years.

This contradicts a report by Today newspaper on Wednesday which quoted Formula 1 chief  Bernie Ecclestone as saying a race extension has been struck between his company, Formula One Management (FOM) and Singapore authorities.

In a statement sent to the media on Wednesday afternoon, Singapore GP said talks between itself and Formula One Administration (FOA) -- which owns FOM -- "are still ongoing".

The current five-year deal to host the F1 race in Singapore expires after this September's final race.

"What is presently on offer from Formula One Administration is insufficient for us to commit to a full five-year extension," its spokesman said.

She added that negotiations have been continuing for almost a year, since FOA filed a formal renewal notice in 2011, and said that Singapore GP is looking for "terms that offer commercial viability for the full five years".

While she declined to disclose the sums involved, it is believed Singapore GP paid US$35 million (S$44 million) for the rights to stage F1's only night race in Singapore when it was first held in 2008.

This figure is said to have risen to about US$42 million (S$53 million) last year.

In addition, it costs another S$150 million to prepare for the race, with the Singapore government forking out S$90 million, or 60 per cent, of the total cost.

Rights fees for the race is believed to have cost organisers S$53 million last year (Getty Images)Rights fees for the race is believed to have cost organisers S$53 million last year (Getty Images)

Still, Ecclestone, 81, had insisted in the Today report that negotiations were concluded and all that is left to do is for the Singapore government to decide when to announce the new deal.

In Parliament on Monday, Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran had asserted Singapore will continue to host the race "only if the terms for a full five-year extension are economically viable".

"We hope to see a mutually agreeable outcome soon," he added in his written reply to a question by Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Liang Eng Hwa.