Singapore Airlines spreads wings into Formula One

April 16, 2014 - 9:10:32 am

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) has been unveiled as the new title sponsor of the city-state’s Formula One race in September as the carrier bids to promote its brand to motor racing’s global television audience.

The September 19-21 race will see the carrier’s brand prominently displayed around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, although financial terms of the deal announced in a statement yesterday were not disclosed.

“We are thrilled to be taking up the title sponsorship of one of the most exciting races on the F1 calendar, and we are especially pleased to be doing so in the lead-up to Singapore’s 50th birthday next year,” Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong said.

“Singapore Airlines has always supported the development of both sports and tourism. Through our involvement with the world’s first F1 night race we will be able to enhance both for the benefit of Singaporeans and visitors alike,” he added.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone welcomed the carrier’s association with the “extremely popular” race, saying it “demonstrates Singapore’s forward thinking, an attribute Singapore Airlines has always achieved”.

The airline’s sponsorship - succeeding local telecoms company Singapore Telecommunications Ltd - comes as premium carriers such as SIA seek ways to boost their brand while customers increasingly opt for budget airlines.

SIA faces stiff competition on its medium and long-haul routes from both Gulf carriers and Asian regional airlines.

Last year, Emirates Airline, Dubai’s flag carrier, clinched a five-year sponsorship deal with the Formula One racing organisation as it bids to outdo regional rivals.

Sponsorship consultant Ben Heyhoe Flint called it a perfect move for Singapore’s premium carrier.

“For me, Singapore Airlines is a very traditional brand, they have done nothing of this stature before. They’ve done the horse-racing festival in Singapore but this is leagues ahead of that,” Flint, chief executive of the Asia Sponsorship News, said by telephone. “It would reinforce its status as a premium carrier because the brand value of Formula One is premium. For me, Singapore Airlines really needed something like this.”

The carrier would have to find innovative and create ways to leverage maximum mileage out of the sponsorship deal, he said.

“What’s more interesting about it is how they are going to activate, how they are going to use it.

“Motorsports it not a big thing here but SingTel made the effort and I hope Singapore Airlines continue to do that for the Grand Prix,” Flint added.

The Singapore Grand Prix was first held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in 2008 and has been won for the last three years by Red Bull’s quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel. 

Red Bull lose Ricciardo appeal

PARIS: Formula One team Red Bull’s appeal against Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix has been rejected by the International Court of Appeal, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said yesterday.

“The Court, after having heard the parties and examined their submissions, decided to uphold the Decision No56 of the Stewards by which they decided to exclude Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s car No3 from the results of the 2014 Australian Grand Prix,” The FIA said in a statement.

Australian Ricciardo finished second in his home race last month, his debut for the world champions, but was disqualified hours later when stewards ruled his car had breached new fuel flow regulations. No further sanction against Red Bull was announced.

The FIA added that details of the decision would be published by the end of the week.

“Infiniti Red Bull Racing accepts the ruling of the International Court of Appeal,” Red Bull said in a statement.

“We are of course disappointed by the outcome and would not have appealed if we didn’t think we had a very strong case. We always believed we adhered to the technical regulations throughout the 2014 Australian Grand Prix.

“We will continue to work very hard to amass as many points as possible for the team, Daniel and Sebastian (Vettel) throughout the season.” 

The ruling means that Ricciardo remains 10th in the drivers’ standings on 12 points, having lost 18 points as result of the disqualification, and Red Bull stay fourth in the team standings.

The hearing took place at the FIA headquarters in Paris on Monday with representatives from the federation and Red Bull arguing their case for almost six hours.

Rival teams Mercedes, the championship leaders who have won all three races so far this year, McLaren, Lotus, Williams and Force India also had representatives at the hearing in front of a five-judge panel.    

The case was seen as a critical test of the regulations accompanying the V6 turbo engines and energy recovery systems, with Red Bull arguing the sensors cannot be trusted, a version the FIA and other teams dispute.

Red Bull, instead, used their own method of measurement, in breach of an FIA technical directive. Mercedes had come down hard on Red Bull, asking the judges to “impose a further sanction that is to be suspended until the end of the season” to prevent them from breaching the rules again. AGENCIES

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