SM: I think its got its unique challenges – 23 turns, 61 laps. It’s not easy on the drivers and it’s great for the spectators. Every race the safety car goes out. So itâ€™s a test, a real test for the drivers and I think thatâ€™s what makes it so brilliant and thatâ€™s what makes it shine as well from other races.
SM: I think the fact that we race under the stars makes a huge difference. The fact that it’s also a street race but the way we created the race that up-close personal feeling you get, the feeling you walk away with is very distinctive. Plus unlike the other street races we donâ€™t do just a race. We are more than just a race and we are a full-fledged weekend and fromÂ 3:00pmÂ all the way to 12:30am. In between the races, off track, on track, there is always something to do. I think thatâ€™s what makes us distinct from other races.
OD: How do you manage the challenge of security and deployment of the Safety Car, etc?
SM: We take the safety of the drivers very seriously. We have got multiple contingency plans to make sure that they are taken care of. There should not be any incident. By having said that we also do agree some of our turns are very tight and every year we do a little bit of something to make the difference. Some of our turns you just cannot duplicate, and drivers who come back year on year have tried and tested it. So I think it is great for them, great for us Â and itâ€™s great for the audience. Safety is a huge deal. But safety is a huge deal through out the circuit park. You know we have 87,000 people who come each day as per last year. We make sure they are in a safe environment. They are very close to the race track and we make sure every single precaution is taken care of.
OD: What challenges do you face when organising a grand prix within a city in terms of permissions and the like?
SM: Actually our partners are the government. You know we have Singapore Airlines. Itâ€™s great to have them on board. Every year with the tourism board we make sure the message goes out. We work with almost every known government body to make this race happen. The level of government cooperation that happens is incredible. You name it: we work the army, we work with the police, we work with the land transport authority, the national environment agency. Every single agency that is a parent, right down to PUB which is the utility board, because we have water transport. I mean itâ€™s incredible. But the level of cooperation, I think is something that we are entirely grateful for. No other government will support such a race of such a great magnitude and complexity and give us the time and attention that it needs. But that is exactly what it takes, you know it takes that time and attention and it takes the government to say let’s do this and with everybody having the same goal and aim. I think that is something wonderful Singapore had managed to achieve.
OD: What about the logistics?
SM: Well every year Â there are logistical issues. Because we try to introduce new things and we know that something will go wrong. But it’s attitude that makes the difference. You know when something goes wrong, letâ€™s find a solution. No challenge or no problem is without a solution. The entire force behind the grand prix has the same attitude and I think that’s what solves our battle really.
OD: What is it like interacting with Formula One Management?
SM: We have a great working relationship with the FOM. The first year everybody was focused on making the race happen. It was new for them, it was new for us and there was no rule book as I keep saying. Nobody said this is how you do it, this is how you do a street race, and this is how you do a race in the heart of down town city, this is how you manage over 2,50,000 people. We had to create everything from scratch and for the FOM as well, they are working with a new partner and it was the beginning of a level of trust. Â And a certain level of trust has to be there and it’s great that we build that level of trust year on year and now we have got a beautiful relationship with them.
OD: Do you think that the regulation changes will have an impact on the Singapore GP as a race?
SM: I say, we shall see. Because each race is so different. The impact of the regulations are quite different from race to race. Whether it’s a regular circuit or a street circuit and itâ€™s not for us to comment until the day of the race. To see really the the impact. I think personally, the Formula 1 race in itself is amazing. You know the level of technology. It’s like an art form in high speed. That and the sound of an engine will always make an impact. For how it impacts the race, letâ€™s look at day one and we will see.