Expat’s Guide To Getting The MOST Out Of Singapore’s Annual Formula 1 Festivities – By Expat Andrea McKenna Brankin

Start your engines! Heed these personal recos (and remembrances) for enjoying the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix.
05 September 2018

(image: Singapore Grand Prix)

The grand stands are going up, the parties are getting booked and the track is being set up for the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix, which is this 14 to 16 September.

Singapore, per usual, provides a stunning backdrop to the event, which is the only night race in the Formula 1 series.

Every year, since the event started in 2008, this spectacle has gotten better and better, with great musical acts all three nights, parties and an always-exciting race, where the heat inside the cars shoots to around 50C. (That’s hot.).

Mind you, due to road closures, it’s hard to get in and out of the Marina Bay area. Plan to take the MRT or a taxi to an MRT. There usually will be tonnes of signage to get you to your entrance gates underground. Depending on which zone tickets you have, you may have shuttle options as well.

The best deal to see the race and concerts is the Walkabout tickets. From Friday to Sunday, the prices range from $128 to $388 for all four zones, or just focus on Zone 4 for the shows, which range from $78 to $188. Zone 1 also has a stage, so check out which location you want for the concerts you want to see. But, remember, Zone 4 is the Padang and usually the biggest acts.

For concerts, I’m happy to re-visit The Killers, who are playing Saturday night, along with Oasis’s Liam Gallagher. Be prepared to hear the largest singalong to “Wonderwall” ever staged in Asia. Meanwhile, The Sugar Hill Gang (of ’80s hit “Rapper’s Delight”) play Saturday, too. Scope out the entire musical lineup here.

Those Parties Though

There’s no limit to the number of parties hosted around Singapore for F1.

The big one is at The Podium Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton. Tix are $188 in advance and $218 at the door. There will be musical acts, including some guys from boy band Westlife (Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden) and Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas.

(image: The Podium Lounge)

Another F1 hotspot will be Singapore’s first-ever Rich List party at Flow18 at the JW Marriott South Beach, which will have events all weekend, including during the race. The setup is called Action Terrace, where you watch the race and party on to local and international DJs. An art exhibit will also be on hand if you’re not over-stimulated enough with zooming F1 culture. Tickets are $75 to $200, depending on the day you go. (Find out about other fun F1 parties parties here!)

While you probably won’t have trouble finding the parties, you may have trouble getting in if you don’t buy your tickets in advance. So, plan to drop some dough now – not next week.

My Personal Fave F1 Moments

As I’ve been to quite a few of the F1 weekends, here’s a roundup of the Ghosts of My F1 Pasts:

  • In 2012, I sat in the grandstand for the final race, and then attended the glitzy after-party at The Ritz-Carlton hotel, where we watched a guy bid on and win a race suit worn by Lewis Hamilton for $6,000 (on the spot payment, please).
  • That same year, I watched my husband get “advised” by Singapore police not to jump the barrier between pedestrian lanes to get to the Ritz party. They may seem like worker bees, but my advice is, don’t mess with the police if they decide to confront you.
  • In 2013, I listened to The Killers  play “Mr. Brightside” twice, as part of a musical montage.

(image: Singapore Grand Prix)

  • In 2014, I missed Robbie Williams completely because the organizers closed the entrance gate right after my three friends ran in. And, by closed, I mean, In. My. Face. Incidentally, it poured rain for the whole show and Robbie Williams never flinched.
  • At the 2015 Maroon 5 show, everyone kept holding up their phones overhead so no one could see the show. Damn Millenials. Meanwhile, at the Bon Jovi concert also in 2015, only the 40+ people knew the songs.
  • Duran Duran played a lively show in 2017 to a light audience, again seemingly because of the age gap. Fine. More room to dance!

Well, I’m not sure what is in store for me for 2018’s F1, but the weekend never disappoints. Bring on the heat, the beer, the roaring engines, the international crowds. It would even be great to hear The Killers play “Mr. Brightside” twice again.

Happy racing!

 

About Andrea McKenna Brankin

Andrea McKenna Brankin is a journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.

 

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