Singapore extends Formula One contract until 2017

SINGAPORE Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:35pm BST

McLaren Formula One driver Jenson Button of Britain drives during the third practice session of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit September 22, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Chong

McLaren Formula One driver Jenson Button of Britain drives during the third practice session of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit September 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tim Chong

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore has agreed a deal with Formula One to extend the country's grand prix contract for another five years until 2017, the government said on Saturday.

There had been some doubt about the future of the event, the only night race on the calendar, but on the eve of the fifth edition the Singapore government said a new five-year deal had been agreed.

Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said he was "more than happy" with the Singapore race and paid tribute to the government's "courage" to bring a night race to the calendar.

"All of us like being here. So we are all here for another five years," Ecclestone added. "They have started something so popular worldwide."

The race was first held in 2008 on the Marina Bay street circuit and has become a social highlight of the Formula One calendar that rivals Monaco and Abu Dhabi as a draw for dealmakers and corporate heavy-hitters.

Formula One had also planned a flotation worth up to $3 billion in Singapore but that has been put on hold due to weak and volatile financial markets.

A feasibility study carried out after the 2010 race found that the grand prix had brought in 420 million Singapore dollars ($331.37 million) in tourism receipts in the first three years.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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