Singapore is world-famous for dining, shopping and Formula 1’s original night race. Stewart Bell looks at how to do Asia’s top sporting event in style.
We’re all spoilt for choice now when it comes to epic travel experiences, but one event you may not have considered that has turned heads for well over a decade now is the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix. Every year in September, the famed city-state comes alive, when more than 250,000 people go downtown – to watch F1 under lights and music’s hottest acts.
And it is the social event on the calendar, with Singapore vying with Monaco for F1’s most glamorous round – one that sees film stars and heads of state flying in to attend the trackside parties, as the world’s finest racers go wheel-to-wheel on the streets of Marina Bay with zero room for error.
One of those is home-grown, with Perth-born racer Daniel Ricciardo heading to Singapore with new team Renault for the first time. The 30-year-old is a Marina Bay specialist having been on the podium in four of the last five visits, and loves the challenge of the race.
“It’s definitely established itself on the calendar, everyone kind of knows it, being the original night race and the real spectacle night race,” Ricciardo says. “But knowing that one is such a physical challenge as well is always fun. I feel like my preparation for that one is kinda like pre-season all over again, you can really do a good couple weeks of proper intensity and really prepare for a real purpose.”
Naturally, the event can be done on just about any budget, making it accessible for all, but for those with the means – the SVIP options are breathtaking. Think unparalleled access to the cars and drivers, incredible dining experiences from celebrity chefs, and even a two-storey super-luxe nightclub.
The VIP options even extend to the live performances, which are headlined in 2019 by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gwen Stefani, Swedish House Mafia, Muse, Fatboy Slim, Hans Zimmer, and Toots and the Maytals. The toughest decision is working out which pass to go for…
Formula 1 Paddock Club
The Formula 1 Paddock Club is the ultimate experience at the heart of the sport, the inner sanctum where teams and drivers host their SVIP guests. In Singapore, it’s done in serious style with a series of celebrity chefs’ restaurants set around The Garden – which takes on an exotic new theme every year.
This year, renowned British celebrity chef Heston Blumental will make his event debut with Michelin-starred gastro-pub The Hinds Head sitting next to Australian icon Rockpool by Neil Perry, returning for 2019.
The colossal names continue with NOBU, and COMO Cuisine in partnership with Culina, which will incorporate signature restaurants from the COMO Dempsey family such as Candlenut, Singapore’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, Ippoh Tempura Bar by Ginza Ippoh, and COMO’s Michelin-starred restaurant in Bangkok, Nahm.
There’s also Stockton Bar by Maximal Concepts from Hong Kong, which is ranked number eight across Asia’s 50 Best Bars, and Tarte, led by pastry chef Cheryl Koh of two Michelin-starred Les Amis Restaurant. All that comes with daily F1 pit lane walks and even a spa for pampering.
If you’re looking for something that meets your highly fashionable lifestyle needs, head to Twenty3 – the event’s massive 3000sqm facility, located at the super-fast final turn. In 2019 it is set to be bigger, better and bolder with three award-winning restaurants, a Japanese izakaya, a whisky speakeasy, and even a two-storey nightclub.
Twenty3’s dining has been turbocharged by superstar chefs like Massimiliano Mascia from San Domenico (two Michelin stars) in Imola, Italy; Takagi Kazuo of Takagi (two Michelin stars) in Ashiya, Japan; as well as Tiago Bonito from Largo do Paço (one Michelin star) in Amarante, Portugal.
Then head over to the two-storey Apex Lounge, a nightclub on the pit straight with feature bar, dance floor and incredible kinetic light installation imported from Germany. Look up as you’re partying for the mesmerising movement and colours created by the 300 light spheres hanging overhead.
Meanwhile, you can also indulge in one-of-a-kind sweet treats by award-winning Pâtissier Philip Khoury from Harrod’s Knightsbridge, London and pastry chefs Eddie Stewart and Min Chai of N2 Brunch Club as they work in tandem exclusively for Twenty3 to create a selection of unique concoctions that marry food and art.
There is never a dull moment at Twenty3, with Taiko drummers, DJ sets, fire dancers, roving performers and electrifying pyrotechnics lining up within the alfresco space throughout the race weekend.
What about actually watching the racing? You can enjoy it right at your table via the full-length windows at all of the restaurants, head outdoors to any of the viewing galleries, or onto the rooftop of the Apex Lounge – where the party continues.
For another VIP view of the action, the Sky Suites offer a luxurious mix of air-conditioned trackside suites and a private viewing balcony. The suites have been completely revamped and now feature higher ceilings, new viewing balconies and brand new furnishing and layout.
They also provide a fantastic view of Turns 1-3, which is one of the most exciting places to be at the start of the race – with 2017’s multi-million US dollar startline crash voted by fans as the season’s most dramatic moment.
Regardless of what you choose, you’re sure to have a fantastic experience – with F1’s original night race an amazing spectacle that is sure to leave an impression.