10 April, 2007

F1 in Sepang

Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo was up in Sepang for the F1 race as the guest of the Sepang Chairman Mokhzani Mahathir :

Mr & Mrs George Yeo

1. I was up in Sepang for the F1 race as the guest of the Sepang Chairman Mokhzani Mahathir. When he invited me last year, I said I would go but could not in the end because of the visit of Queen Elizabeth. When Mokhzani invited me again this year, I agreed immediately. It was very thoughtful of him to remember. However, I did not anticipate the 'controversy' over Singapore wanting to host F1 as well. Some Malaysians saw it as Singapore wanting to take away Malaysia's F1.

2. In fact, Sepang F1 and Singapore F1 should be complementary. To begin with, Singapore hasn't the sprawling land to build a beautiful circuit like Malaysia's. Ours, if it eventuates, will be a city circuit like Monaco's. Furthermore, Bernie Ecclestone's intention is to spread the two out. Joint promotion will build interest in the grand prix in Southeast Asia and benefit tourism in both countries.

3. If F1 comes to Singapore, there will be serious inconveniences to the public. Traffic will be severely affected for a few days at least. The noise can be deafening although some people do get a kick from cars zipping along at 200 to 300 km/hr. But the event will for sure give an additional buzz (pardon the pun) to Singapore.

4. I enjoyed my first F1 experience. I've never followed the sport before and took a while figuring out what was happening. Sepang has excellent facilities. My wife and I were in the Perdana Suite, rubbing shoulders with royalty and ministers. PM Abdullah Badawi and DPM Najib were kind and gracious. Syed Hamid and Sports Minister Azalina were also good company.



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