(Reuters) - Singapore denied on Wednesday that a deal had been agreed with Formula One to extend the country’s grand prix contract for five years after September’s race.
Commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone had earlier been quoted in the Today newspaper as saying the contract extension was all set and that the timing of the official announcement would be decided by the Singapore government.
Organisers Singapore GP (SGP) said in a statement that negotiations on the terms of a second five-year contract were continuing.
“What is presently on offer from Formula One Administration is insufficient for us to commit to a full five-year extension,” they said.
SGP said the talks had been going on for almost a year but the terms had to “offer commercial viability for the full five years.
“We remain hopeful at reaching an outcome that is mutually beneficial to all parties,” SGP added.
Ecclestone had told the Singapore-based newspaper that obstacles to a deal had been cleared.
“I’m happy that this is out of the way because Singapore has been good to F1 and the night race has also been equally good for Singapore,” he said.
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 (1 billion pounds) in Singapore but that has been put on hold due to weak and volatile financial markets.
Today said the rights fee for hosting the grand prix was believed to have cost Singapore organisers US$35 million initially with yearly increases rising to US$42 million last year.
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.
This year’s race is on September 23.
Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Amlan Chakraborty and Ken Ferris