Singapore Grand Prix organiser says: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”

Has the Singapore scandal brought F1 some useful publicity?

Has the Singapore scandal brought F1 some useful publicity?

The Singapore Grand Prix organisers say they are not concerned that the Renault scandal has detracted from last year’s inaugural F1 race.

Singapore GP CEO Michael Roche told F1 Fanatic:

They say that there is no such thing as bad publicity. The governance of Formula 1 is strictly the responsibility of the FIA. However the World Council investigations may turn out, Singapore is always going to go down in history as having created a truly memorable event.

We feel that event fully delivered on the spectacle, drama and excitement that we promised in bringing Formula One to Singapore.

Fernando Alonso in fact produced one of the most spectacular overtaking moves of the race, when he passed Nico Rosberg for the lead at Turn Seven. Felipe Massa and the Ferrari team produced high drama in the pit lane, while Kimi Raikkonen was one of several drivers who demonstrated the challenges of the Marina Bay circuit.

Despite the recent controversy, the Singapore Grand Prix was an international success that gained Singapore accolades around the world. Any visitor to the 2008 event should be proud that they experienced history in seeing Formula One’s first-ever night race.

We are now fully focussed on ensuring that the 2009 event builds on that success and the continuing ticket sales, now past 85% sold-out, bears witness the the race?s continuing popularity.

Whenever there is a scandal like this one (and it happens a lot these days) there are always some who suggest that such affairs are good for the sport because it keeps it in the headlines.

But there must be a limit to the amount of bad publicity a sport can get before the public turn off and sponsors start leaving.

Fans who shelled out their own money to go the race are not likely to share the view that this sort of publicity is ultimately good for F1. Here’s a comment left on this site by David, who was at the race last year:

I am so angry, I am from London and went to Singapore last year for the first night race, had an amazing time, the race was exciting and interesting, got amazing photos, and most of all have a great memory of running down the pit straight at the end, climbing the fence opposite the podium and seeing the podium ceremony complete with Flavio on the podium.

Now I feel cheated!

I am heading to Singapore again on Monday, if I hadn?t already paid for everything I wouldn?t go! I am actually shocked about this!

Do you think the kind of publicity F1 has had from the Renault scandal benefits the sport?

Renault Singapore crash controversy

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73 comments on Singapore Grand Prix organiser says: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”

  1. No, the kind of publicity F1 has had from the Renault scandal does not benefit the sport….in a positive way. However, the Singapore organiser is correct. “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” We are all talking about it and F1 is in newspapers all over the world because of it. Unfortionate really.

  2. Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 19th September 2009, 13:56

    Unless your name is Flavio…..

  3. The organiser of Singapore Grand Prix cannot afford to say anything else 7 days before the event.

    If he comes out and says this is bad publicity for F1, it will have a severe impact on the possible success of the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix.

    Such publicity (Renault scandal) does hurt the sport. But it doesn’t mean that race organisers should come out and say it out in the open. There job is to ensure that Formula 1 provides entertainment on the track.

    I do have a feeling that this year’s Singapore GP should be pretty bore. They have removed the bumps, and there would be no mid-race crashes either. We all saw how the first 15 laps of Singapore GP last year were a procession.

  4. Well, Tony George of Indianapolis Motor Speedway didn’t mince words when F1 staged a farce of a race at his track. He boycotted the awards presentation and called them all unpleasant words.

    Since Michelin ruined the 2005 USGP they bought everyone tickets for the next year’s race. Maybe Renault ought to open their wallets for everyone who was at Sinapaore in 2008.

    • mp4-19b said on 19th September 2009, 15:01

      Maybe Renault ought to open their wallets for everyone who was at Sinapaore in 2008.

      Absolutely!! They have to owe up.

    • Well, there may be no such thing as bad publicity, but there are things such as bad tracks.Let’s list them:
      Singapore
      Malaysia
      China
      Abu Dahbi
      Bahrain
      Valencia
      Indianapolis
      and virtually every track designed or modified by Herman Tilke.
      We need F1 to oust these money whores(you know who they are) and come back tothe tracks that made them famous. Tracks that required not only skill but balls also.
      I wont be watching Singapore because it is a boring circuit. The only street circuit that should be on the book in Monaco.
      I have been following the sport since 1958 and we have lost all the great tracks with the excetion of Monza and Spa.
      One day the organizers of the sport will figure this out and bring us back to our racing roots and hopefully the great tracks will be there to test the drivers and the cars and give us a great show.

      • mp4-19b said on 19th September 2009, 16:29

        I have been following the sport since 1958

        OMG!! Even my Mom wasn’t born then & my Dad would have probably been a toddler!!

        I think you along with dsob & mfDB’s dad are the only ones on f1fanatic to have witnessed Juan Manuel Fangio’s domination. Surely you must be an encyclopedia. Perhaps you could help us.

        There was a question in the forum regarding a helmet & as to who wore it. Surely you must know it.

        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/forum/topic.php?id=660#post-4063

        • Martin said on 20th September 2009, 0:42

          I do apologize for the typo, it is 1968 not 1958, my eyes sometimes cannot see the misteaks on the monitor. But I have still followed the sport for a very long time.

        • mp4, there you go again making me sound old as a dinosaur….

          oh, wait, I AM old as a dinosaur.

          My first F1 race was Silverstone 1956, Granda took me for my birthday present. I was gobsmacked.

          replying to Martin also:

          Too true, mate, all but Spa & Monza and Monaco are gone. Nurburgring is still used, but not in the original configuration. Well, that could also be said of Monza….ohh, when they ran on the banking. But, that was waaaaay back, and today it’s still better than a sanitized, pasteurized, homogenized vacuum-packed politically correct Tilke track.

          I, like you, hope that someday the powers that be will realize this. Though I fear I will never see it.

      • David A said on 19th September 2009, 17:54

        We haven’t actually raced at Abu Dhabi yet! Though there’s a 65-70% chance it won’t be any good.

        • Nitpicker said on 19th September 2009, 18:59

          Though there’s a 65-70% chance it won’t be any good.

          Remarkably accurate for a track that hasn’t been raced upon. Are you a builder in downtown Abu Dhabi? Do you work for Tilke Design?

      • All the ‘great tracks’ as you mention are far too unsafe to race now. Cornering speeds were far lower and steel brakes were used to race on the ‘great tracks’.

        Cars are now too fast to race on tracks like those now. And in light of recent incidents, I would like to see how you are prepared to undermine safety for the sake of racing.

        The tracks you mention to be boring are all located outside Europe hence enhance the global appeal of Formula 1.
        FYI, in 2007, the excitement provided was by Fuji and Shanghai, tracks listed as boring. In fact, in 2007, even the great Spa-Francorchamps produced a processional race.

        There is no such thing as a bad track, it is all in the hands of weather. If its wet its a great race on any track, if its dry it is a boring race on any track.

        • All the ‘great tracks’ as you mention are far too unsafe to race now. Cornering speeds were far lower and steel brakes were used to race on the ‘great tracks’.

          Cars are now too fast to race on tracks like those now. And in light of recent incidents, I would like to see how you are prepared to undermine safety for the sake of racing.

          Cornering speeds are higher now. So is downforce. 190 mph thru the fast corners at Spa without incident this year.

          Carbon fiber brakes make it even safer and easier to race at the “great tracks”.

          As to your comment of “recent events”, I can only think you speak of the untimely death of young Henry Surtees, and of the spring that ate Massa’s helmet. Both incidents true “freak” things, never has such a thing happened before, and probably never will happen again. That’s why FiA has not jumped up with new regs for enclosed cockpits or rollbars over the driver’s head. No one here advocates sacrificing safety, but we are realistic.

          There is no such thing as a bad track

          Valencia street circuit.

          I rest my case.

          If its wet its a great race on any track, if its dry it is a boring race on any track.

          I see you don’t watch many races. Darn shame. If you did, perhaps you’d have a more rounded outlook.

      • Monaco races can be extremely dull. The only reason it is most people’s favourite street circuit is because of the history with which it is associated. Modern street tracks like Valencia and Singapore haven’t had enough time to earn a place in F1 history. Who knows, in 30-40 years’ time people will probably be wishing F1 would go back to “classic venues” like Singapore, like in the good old days, rather than the new boring track in Antarctica or wherever…

      • Nitpicker said on 19th September 2009, 18:58

        …and virtually every track designed or modified by Herman Tilke.

        Turkey is generally popular with drivers. But what would they know.

        • Martin said on 20th September 2009, 1:06

          I did say virtually, even tilke can screw up and finally get it right.
          As to those who say the old tracks were dangerous..you are right and that was what seperated the racers from the posers. Whether you agree or not we have more than our share of posers in the sport. We also had them in the old days, the rich kids who could buy their riddes and such. We still have them they are just shrouded by corporate favoritism.
          I am a US citizen and have been for my entire life. I hold no alegience to any continent, but whether people agree or not the best tracks are still the old ones. Every track since senna died has been slowly neutered into a sad morph of every other one with the exception of the ones noted. Great tracks like san marino are not used now and the old tracks have all these chicanes built in them to lower cornering speed in the name of safety. All it did was make it easier for the lesser driver to keep up as they didnt have to reach down and grab a pair to keep up with the real racers.
          I would love to see all the old tracks come back and maybe have a 25 race season with the teams only having to participate at 18 and then see which ones they would choose. I would bet alot of the ones I have stated as boring wouldnt be used by the top teams unless corporate pressure came to bear.
          You say weather makes a difference between a good race and a boring one, maybe but tracks that offer real challanges to the drivers and seperate the talent pool would also make for better racing.
          There are only 2 tracks in the far east to go to and they are both in japan. The US has a couple or 3 but they will never let f1 race there because they dont care for the bs from bernie and company. So all that is left is the old tracks in europe and South america as well as Mexico and canada.

          • Have to tuck in a thought here…

            First off, YOU GO MARTIN !

            And what I really wanted to note here:
            the “old” tracks aren’t “safe” enough for F1. Bull. They don’t have deep enough pockets to suit Bernie. Mosport hosts races to all manner of open wheel and full-body road cars, and speeds that F1 would reach on that track are seen. Same with other tracks. They are plenty safe enough, they simply can’t or won’t pay the outlandish fees that Bernie wants/needs to charge these days, and they don’t have the plush multi-million dollar VIP suites that Bernie requires for his list of important people. But that’s another discussion. I mention that only to point out that F1 COULD run there, except Bernie chooses to book races elsewhere.

            Sorry, I get sidetracked sometimes.

            Many tracks that people say are not safe enough for F1, that people say F1 is too fast for the track…many of these tracks run other open wheel series, or the LeMan Prototype cars, that run either the same speeds as F1 or darn close to it.

            So, I question whether it is an issue of “not safe enough” or “not profitable enough for Bernie” or “just not in favor with the powers that be” that keeps F1 from these tracks.

            the best tracks are still the old ones. Every track since senna died has been slowly neutered into a sad morph of every other one with the exception of the ones noted. Great tracks like san marino are not used now and the old tracks have all these chicanes built in them to lower cornering speed in the name of safety. All it did was make it easier for the lesser driver to keep up as they didnt have to reach down and grab a pair to keep up with the real racers.

            Ah, gee. I wish I’d written that. Well said, Martin.

      • Nice to see someone older than me still following F1. I was at Indy in 2005 and Michelin bought my tickets to the next years race. I respect them for doing that. I don’t think Indy was associated with Tilke. I enjoyed being at Indy for F1. I can see, though, that it might have been boring on TV. No other place in the country though that meets the FIA track standards. (yet)

        • mp4-19b said on 19th September 2009, 20:01

          Why? Whats wrong with laguna seca & glen? Even good old detroit is better than valencia if you’d ask me.

          • The run off areas and other aspects of all other American tracks do not meet the FIA requirements to host an F1 race.

          • (Do not meet the current FIA requirements.) Years ago the Glen hosted probably before any real formal requirements existed. An Armco barrier and limited runoff areas were all that was required.

        • So, run-off areas don’t meet F1 requirements.

          Hmmm. Well, at Sears Point if ya miss a corner it’s likely tou’ll slide clear to the next county without hitting anything. Only the hairpin at the pit entrance actually has a wall.

          How is that not safe enough for F1?

          Again, I maintain it goes to Bernie and his need for huge fees to meet the income required to maintain his and CVC’s repayment schedule to their lenders. The only place he can get his money is where the country’s government will back the race. Hence, the continuing move toward AsiaF1.

          We all know that there is something wrong with this picture. And we all know what it is. It is sad to see Bernie sacrificing the history of Formula 1 to keep it out of Debtors Prison.

  5. wong chin kong said on 19th September 2009, 14:58

    Of course, it is good publicity for Singapore. Who don’t know the name Singapore-publish all over the internet and news media. Some half-hearted fans might be moved by the news and buy tickets to see more unexpected results. If Renault permitted to race next weekend, fans should see more excitement-can Alfonso win without the aid of the famous crash?

  6. John Beamer said on 19th September 2009, 14:59

    I did the same as David and I’ve got to say I feel the opposite. That race was memorable for many reasons – to name a few

    - first night race
    - alonso win (albeit dubious)
    - massa!!!
    - Rosberg’s ability to take clear a drive through and finish 2nd

    Basically had Piquet not shunted we’d have been treated to a procession that Massa would have probably won. It probably wouldn’t have been any more exciting than Valencia.

    So, David, I put it to you that for your STG3,000 – or whatever it was you shelled out you saw one of the most dramatic races of the year. What’s wrong with that????

    Unless there is rain am willing to bet that this year’s race will be another procession as like Valencia there is nowhere to overtake

    • Nitpicker said on 19th September 2009, 19:10

      Maybe David is a bit short of STG at the moment and is angling for a refund?

    • David A said on 19th September 2009, 23:13

      I doubt a night race could even be run in the rain.

    • Its annoying coming away feeling like what you witnessed was real and then finding out it was false. Not the same, but I felt cheated having watched Hamilton win in Belgium last year, only to find out in the coach on the way back that Massa had won.

  7. I don’t really get this hype that it is impossible to overtake in Singapore – it is harder to do it for sure but we saw more overtaking then in Monaco this year for example.

  8. Bigbadderboom said on 19th September 2009, 15:33

    All publicity is good publicity? Probably true unless taken to the extreme.
    It’s even better for Singapore as they have no guilty association to the “Bad” aspect but benefit from all the “publicity”, even better for them they are almost a victim. Brilliant for Singapore, spread out in print all over the world. Anybody that doesn’t know there is now a F1 night race there must be living under a rock.

    But there must be a limit to the amount of bad publicity a sport can get before the public turn off and sponsors start leaving.

    The only thing that suffers is integrity after a while, many of us have questioned potentail “manufactured” results, and wondered if what we are seeing is as transparent as we may believe. But curiosity is still growing around F1. Perhaps the sport needs to under-go this evolution and take the opportunity to cleanse itself and make itself more transparent, but this must not be done by sterilising the sport and getting rid of all the characters, part of F1′s attraction is the characters both good and not so good.
    Eddie Irvine said this week “alls fair in war and f1″ and I think we all accept that historically. But going forward F1 must become more honest to the fans.

    As for can F1 survive?? see these comments by Bernie

    http://www.crash.net/f1/news/152432/1/f1_will_recover_from_singapore_says_ecclestone.html

    • Nitpicker said on 19th September 2009, 19:15

      Who will be F1′s next Dick Dastardly? We already have Bernie as Mutley. If Vatanen is elected FIA president, he can be Peter Perfect. Adrian Newey is a great Pat Pending.

    • Bigbadderboom I like your comments but come on, Eddie Irvine is a loose cannon. He typically hits the throttle on his mouth before he engages his brain. What he says is typical old school F1. F1 will not grow if it cannot become much more transparent. Thats why FOTA is such a good thing for F1.

      • Bigbadderboom said on 20th September 2009, 10:12

        I agree that Eddies mouth was like his driving, Fast and Loose!! But what i’m saying is recent events suggest that perhaps the history of modern F1 is more corrupt than we like to believe. And I agree FOTA has a part to play in ensuring this transparency that we all want to see.

      • Martin said on 21st September 2009, 2:08

        You actually think eddi has a brain…interesting

  9. I have never agreed with the saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” and I can’t see how this latest scandal can be good for Formula 1

  10. Sush Meerkat said on 19th September 2009, 15:45

    Now I feel cheated!

    Why? you yourself said you had a great time?, fans who say they feel cheated now sound like people that recently got dumped by their partner. Who cares?, you had a great time at the time of the event, Uncle Flavio and Pat Symmonds shouldn’t affect your happyness.

    as for the article, yes its true, there is no bad publicity, my friend Kayla who doesn’t watch F1 and has always said she doesn’t understand why I watch it struck up a conversation regarding Renault cheating on thursday.

    • Nitpicker said on 19th September 2009, 19:23

      I imagine it is like being dumped. You share the lows of Freddie’s grid slot, the highs of climbing the podium after being ‘lucky’, and the gooey exciting middles of Ferrari’s botched pit stop. And a year later you find out it was just an elaborate charade. So you go round to where the cow lives and throw paint over her car.

  11. mp4-19b said on 19th September 2009, 16:52

    Carlos Gracia is furious.

    • Bigbadderboom said on 19th September 2009, 17:58

      Rightly so as well. It’s been dealt with very badley as he says.

      • Nitpicker said on 19th September 2009, 19:18

        Was this the same guy who complained about Renault being banned from entering the Valencia race? I don’t see what it has to do with him. Is he just getting mardy because of the bad image reflected onto Alonso?

    • David A said on 20th September 2009, 1:51

      it’s no coincidence that he’s had 17 accidents since he’s been at Renault

      Especially since he crashed at Singapore’s turn 17!

  12. Of course! the Knight don money

  13. S Hughes said on 19th September 2009, 17:49

    I think this sort of scandal is bad news for the credibility of the sport, there is absolutely no question about that. But it is true that it puts F1 in the headlines in a big way, and might make some people turn over to see what it is all about and then actually stay around for longer. But you would have to be kind of warped to think it is good for the sport. It may give it publicity, but it is still shameful.

    Even so, rugby will always have its followers despite bloodgate, and horse racing will always have its followers despite the notorious race fixing.

    I know someone who is friends with a tennis player who is on the circuit. Apparently he is constantly approached to throw matches for money. Cheating and fixing goes on, especially when there is a lot of money involved. It doesn’t make it a good thing though, and I still think that this incident of cheating is one of the worst in history because of its cynicism and the endangering of lives.

    Was as Westfield shopping centre today to see Lewis launching the new M&S boyswear line and this scandal doesn’t seem to have dented his popularity or F1′s popularity. It was an absolute riot and Lewis was great as always (got another autograph). There were quite a few screaming girls there.

    • Bigbadderboom said on 19th September 2009, 18:09

      Unfortunatley the sponsors are only interested in the profile of the sport in respect of numbers, veiwing figures are what count and how many people are seeing their “Message”.
      The recent crash scandal left me feeling sick, but the way its been dealt with is appalling, immunity should not be banded around like that, and now we are left with a situation where nobody can be held responsible. But the circus goes on, and the additional watchers who rubber neck the road crash that is the current F1 are openly welcomed by Bernie and co. And while the viewing figures peak at over 1 billion per race it will always be this way.

      • S Hughes said on 19th September 2009, 18:28

        Good points. It does seem to be a bit like a circus run by the ringmaster Bernie. He has absolutely ZERO moral fibre. It does seem incredible that people who wilfully endangered lives are just going to walk free unpunished. Losing their jobs is surely not punishment enough.

    • Nitpicker said on 19th September 2009, 19:25

      There were quite a few screaming girls there.

      Was the new clothes line that bad? Did you tell them it was for boys??

  14. Raceaddict said on 19th September 2009, 17:58

    The quote from Michael Roche is typical PR gloss. He sounds no different than a Don Kin or Vince McMahon of pro wrestling.; spectacle and publicity at any cost. While this is can great engine for controversy and ticket sales, discounting the severity of this incident opens the door to further to the rot at the core of F1 that Sir Jackie referred to..

    Singapore was a spectacle and a tremendous technical achievement but people like Roche will move on to the next thing (Super Bowl in Singapore, nude MMA or first boy-girl boxing match) as soon as the winds blow south.

    I mean, glorifying the Ferrari refueling misfire? It’s dark. That is putting box office over the value of human life.

    • Nitpicker said on 19th September 2009, 19:28

      That is putting box office over the value of human life.

      As opposed to putting a (possible) race win over safety? This is the world we live in. At least we can see it for what it is though.

  15. Now, the difference between Formula 1 and other sports like Football or Rugby is that you don’t have fanatics (Apart from us, f1fanatics…) that will root for a team/racer no matter what. Real Madrid fans are happy when a penalty kick is given to them, deserved or not, and many are happy when a Real Madrid player hurts or spits on a Barcelona player. F1 fans usually will start disliking their favorite pilot if they do very wrong fans (unless they are Lewis’ or Alonso’s fan, like I am. We “overlook” our drivers mistakes and wrongdoings very often, but only to a certain point.)

    But… if we are talking about publicity only, then it might be good. I think there’s a lot of people that might turn on the TV if they think they might see a race in which idiots deliberately crash their cars and risks their lives for their tem-mates to win a race. It’s much better publicity than “The brasilian driver was going to win, then he hit the brakes and the german driver won the race.”

    • *I meant VERY WRONG THINGS. Sorry.*

    • Now that I write about it, it suddenly strikes me that what happened now is Renault cheating the other teams and giving a spectacle. What happened in the Schumacher-Barrichelo episode was Ferrari cheating the fans. Maybe I’m more offended by that one than with the recent one.

      • Nitpicker said on 19th September 2009, 19:31

        what happened now is Renault cheating the other teams and giving a spectacle

        …and giving themselves their first race win of the year and avoiding the ongoing embarrassment of poor performances, not to mention potential closure of the team because they couldn’t get good results even with the best driver in the field. Oh yes, Renault were selfless

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