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Singapore F1 GP not under threat despite corruption probe, says government

The future of Singapore's Formula 1 race will not be impacted by the corruption probe surrounding a former government minister and event promoter Ong Beng Seng, the state said Thursday.

Mechanics make final preparations on the grid before the start

Mechanics make final preparations on the grid before the start

Lionel Ng / Motorsport Images

Singapore's transport minister S. Iswaran has just announced his resignation in the aftermath of facing 27 charges in relation to interaction with Beng Seng, who owns the rights to the Singapore GP and is chairman of the promoting company.

The matter relates to alleged kickbacks that Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) believes Iswaran may have received from property tycoon Beng Seng.

Some of these are said to include flights on Ong's private plane and tickets to the Singapore GP, of which Iswaran was an advisor.

Iswaran has rejected the accusations against him and issued a statement making it clear he is determined to clear his name. Beng Seng has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

With Singapore being a country that prides itself on the lack of corruption, the case has attracted huge interest in the region.

Plus, with Beng Seng such a central element to the Singapore GP, there has been intrigue about whether or not there will be implications for the future of the F1 race, which currently has a contract until 2028.

But in a move to play down any suggestion of a change in its fate, Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Thursday that the government is happy that the race deal was not pushed forward without its best interests at heart.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, the rest of the field away at the start

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, the rest of the field away at the start

"The terms of all the agreements were considered carefully by the government," it said. "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.

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"All preparations for the F1 Singapore Grand Prix in 2024, which is scheduled for 20 – 22 September 2024, are on track."

The Ministry added that the benefits from hosting the Singapore GP are clear, with it having attracted more than 550,000 international visitors and generating around SGD 2 billion ($1.5 billion) in tourism revenue.

"The F1 Singapore Grand Prix has also raised Singapore's reputation as a vibrant Global-Asia node," it added.

"Beyond the tourism sector, the race has also benefited many Singapore companies that are involved in different aspects of the race, e.g., in logistics, transport, construction and engineering services."

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