Coronavirus: What next for SIA and the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix? - The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – There are still five months to the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix but there is already doubt about its future, with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to wreak havoc around the world.

This year’s first eight Formula One races have been either postponed or cancelled, with the Canadian Grand Prix on June 14 the de facto season opener now, though its status and the rest of the 22-race calendar remains highly uncertain.

For the Singapore race, scheduled for Sept 20 and the eighth stop on the revised and shortened line-up, it is a potential double whammy given the troubles of its title sponsor.

SIA, much like the rest of the aviation industry, has been pummelled by the Covid-19 outbreak. The Republic’s national carrier, which last week was thrown a $15 billion lifeline, backed by majority owner Temasek, is in the midst of cost-cutting measures, including wage reductions and voluntary no-pay leave for most SIA staff.

The airline has backed the Singapore race since 2014 and last year extended its title sponsorship until 2021, the same year the country’s hosting rights deal with F1 ends.

SIA’s partnership for the first two years was believed to be worth between $10 million and $15 million annually, and reportedly $10 million a year for the next two years. The value of the 2018-2019 term, as well as the present one, is not known.

Asked about the company’s future approach towards sports sponsorship and if it will look to renegotiate the existing contract, an SIA spokesman said: “We do not comment on speculation, and we continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Race promoter Singapore GP also declined to discuss commercial contractual specifics and