it's time to save up for a 600mm f2.8, and a hotel room in ritz carlton.
Monday January 15, 4:17 PM
Motor Racing: And Alonso's first past the Merlion!
SINGAPORE: It is 7pm on a Sunday in September next year. They have lined up in formation - the magnificent scarlet Ferraris, the gleaming silver McClaren-Mercedes, the playful blue and yellow Renaults - all straining at the leash in front off Marina Bay. One by one, the five red starter lights go off and those powerful engines roar to life.
At 300kmh, led by world champion Fernando Alonso, they fly in a blur past the Esplanade and City Hall, around Swissotel The Stamford and into Suntec City. Before you know it, they are back beneath the Benjamin Sheares Bridge and on their next lap.
If all goes to plan and Formula 1 (F1) supremo Bernie Ecclestone reaches an understanding with one of the Singaporean groups that have offered to host a Grand Prix here in 2008, something akin to this scenario could come alive on our roads.
TODAY newspaper revealed last week that Formula One Management company's talks with hotel and property tycoon Ong Beng Seng and ONE°15 luxury marina club developer Arthur Tay are at an advanced stage.
TODAY has now managed to obtain details of the street circuit proposed by world-famous designer Hermann Tilke - and it promises to advertise Singapore in the most flattering light possible.
The circuit takes in the most seductive stretch of Singapore's skyline, including a slew of skyscrapers, the Victoria Memorial Hall, the Raffles Hotel and the Singapore Flyer. The start-finish line of the 4.8-km track could be in front of the grandstand being built for National Day.
The novelty factor goes up several notches as the race will be a night race - perhaps the first in the world for a street circuit.
Some night races are held in the United States, but they take place on oval stadium tracks. Street tracks, themselves, are a rarity with Monaco providing the only other one on the Formula 1 calendar. A night race on a street circuit is almost unheard of and it will provide drivers a unique technical challenge.
The timing could also help viewers in Europe and the US tune in at a more comfortable hour.
While a final decision is still pending, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has confirmed that talks are in progress.
"We are constantly on the lookout for investors and event organisers who wish to bring major events, such as the F1 Grand Prix, to Singapore. Several parties have expressed an interest in bringing F1 to Singapore and discussions are ongoing," a ministry spokesperson said in an email reply to TODAY.
Be prepared for some inconveniences, though.
While the proposed circuit could come as a windfall to hotels along the route - including Marina Mandarin, Conrad, Ritz-Carlton, Pan Pacific, Raffles and Swissotel, where guests could check in for the race - public roads to the heart of the city may have to be closed for the event.
In Monaco, for example, the circuit closes to general traffic three hours before the race and opens 30 minutes after it is over.
The closures may be limited to two one-hour practice sessions on Friday, another practice session and the qualifiers on Saturday, and race day on Sunday.
Many areas along the route will still be accessible by MRT, or via the underground link from City Hall station.
Weighed against that is a global audience of 350 million catching a glimpse of the Singapore skyline and revenues that could touch US$100 million ($154 million).
This one, if materialised, is definitely going to generate a lot of publicity for Singapore and not forgetting the economic spin off. Obviously, should have hosted such event long ago. The grand prix we had in the 60s and 70s, held at the Old Upp Thomson Rd circuit, were pale in comparison to such glamorous event.
Our Elites in their benovelent nature and wanting to make sure all of us sons and daughters of the nation don't get killed because we copy F1 race car drivers and start racing on Singapore Roads banned the possibility of a F1 in Singapore when it was offered to us.