The motorsports scene in Singapore reaches its height when its annual highlight – the Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix – comes to town in September. It was a busy week with events to attend and races to watch, but I loved the fulfilling week and actually felt withdrawal symptoms immediately once the race ended.
I have been posting a lot about F1, even after Sebastian Vettel crossed the finish line and the fireworks lit the sky, but do bear with me as I post a few more post-F1SGP pieces ok?
I have encountered different levels of interest in F1 and I found myself thinking of how these can be categorised. For example, while motorsports fans and certain industries like the tourism and hospitality sectors look forward to this money-spinning event, there is a handful (or maybe more) that use this chance to flee Singapore and avoid the closed roads and resulting road or transport inconveniences.
So… Which category do you fall in? Let’s take a look…
Definition: You must get a ticket to the race. You can name every team and driver of the season and you buy tickets to the race once they go on sale. You enter the circuit as early as you can and you camp outside the paddock entrance just to catch glimpses of the drivers when they arrive at the circuit.
Definition: The most exclusive front-row seat to the race, or the best ticket to the race, doesn’t come easy and is one that is gained through hours of your time in training and on your feet. The best way to get as close as possible to the action is probably to volunteer as a race official. After dedicated theoretical and practical training, these officials are most valuable to the race as they risk their lives performing duties such as recovery specialist duties in times of crashes.
Definition: You may not understand anything about Formula 1 except being familiar with the top teams like Red Bull and McLaren but you still want to go to the race just to be seen in the Sky Suite holding a glass of champagne in your best evening wear. With free flow of premium wines and champagnes, gourmet meals and exclusive souvenirs to take home, and maybe an opportunity to rub shoulders with the who’s who, this is a perfect time to network.
Definition: You will be spending money for the race; just that it won’t go directly into the race organisers’ pockets. Whether it’s gathering with some like-minded supporters at a pub or in an indulgingly luxurious hotel room, you are still supporting the race. In fact, some people prefer to do it this way as the shared cost among friends will be cheaper and you get the comfort of the hotel room plus all the action on ‘live’ TV as well as from the balcony. Do note that the good rooms at trackside hotels cost a lot more than usual and are taken up very quickly.
Definition: You will catch the race, as long as you don’t have to spend a cent. Some people are just not willing to spend the money on the tickets that they find expensive or are out of their budget, but still want to catch the ‘live’ action. Hence, they take the effort to hunt for the best free spots to watch from – whether it’s in a stairwell in Marina Square or on the Anderson Bridge.
Definition: You may or may not be familiar to the sport but the first thought that strikes you upon receiving news about F1 is not to get a ticket, but how to make money. Whether it is setting up a booth within the circuit or selling some racing-related stuff somewhere else, F1 means business and profits.
Definition: You know the sport and are involved in it only because it is related to your work. If not because of work, you would have avoided the road closures and the whole area altogether. You may be the director of communications of a trackside hotel or a sales girl in a shop at Suntec City mall or even a reporter; F1 period means severe overtime or extra shifts. Because of how much your work is involved with F1, you take the effort to read up on the sport. Sales and marketing teams of most businesses sit down and crack their brains for the most adrenalin-charged promotions.
Definition: You can’t wait to get out of the country during the F1 period. The whole “F1 hoopla” with all its commercialism, intense marketing and the hype might be too much for some non-fans. Using the opportunity for a getaway, some people can’t wait to get away from the noisy F1 cars.
Definition: F1 came and went and it didn’t even affect your life at all. You seldom come to town anyway and despite Singapore being so small, you didn’t even know that F1 was in Singapore.
I could go on defining more and more categories, and even categories within categories, but unfortunately that’s only so much space I have here. Any suggestions to what other categories there can be?