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76% of S’poreans positive towards new F1 deal: Report

SINGAPORE — The dramatic first-turn crash that ended Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel’s hopes of a fifth title at the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix may have dominated headlines worldwide, but over on social media, news of the four-year contract extension for the Singapore night race was what generated the most buzz online.

Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen passes turn 14 with the Singapore CBD skyline in the background during practice on Sept 15. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen passes turn 14 with the Singapore CBD skyline in the background during practice on Sept 15. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

SINGAPORE — The dramatic first-turn crash that ended Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel’s hopes of a fifth title at the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix may have dominated headlines worldwide, but over on social media, news of the four-year contract extension for the Singapore night race was what generated the most buzz online. 

A report by global media intelligence firm Meltwater — which tracked online reactions in the lead-up to and during the race weekend — showed that 76 per cent of Singaporeans had reacted positively to news of the deal, which was announced by Formula One, Singapore Tourism Board and race promoter Singapore GP last Friday (Sept 15). 

Twenty-three per cent of reactions were neutral, while one per cent reacted negatively to the news.

“In general, the Singapore F1 race generates a huge amount of interest across social media, but the renegotiated deal by organisers and the Singapore Government further bolstered buzz, reaching record levels this year,” said Neil Brennan, Area Director, Meltwater Japan and South East Asia.

The race-day action at the Marina Bay street circuit also generated plenty of social media buzz, with Vettel scoring the highest online mentions after a disastrous outing which saw the Ferrari driver colliding with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after the race started. 

With both Ferraris and Verstappen out of the race, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton stormed to victory on a rain-soaked track to extend his lead over four-time world champion Vettel in the world title race. While the German did not finish on the podium, he topped the charts online, making up 37 per cent of social media chatter compared with race winner Hamilton’s 36 per cent. 

Ferrari was the most mentioned online among the teams with 36 per cent, while Mercedes and Red Bull weighed in at 20 per cent each. 

The social media statistics will also be welcome news for Singapore GP, who reported on Sunday that the overall attendance of 260,400 for this year was higher than the average turnout in the race’s 10-year history. This was also an approximate 19 per cent increase from last year’s figure of 219,000. 

Hit by economic uncertainly at home and worldwide, the Singapore Grand Prix slumped to its worst-ever spectator turnout last year, with overall ticket take-up 15 per cent lower than the average attendance since the inaugural edition in 2008. 

The Singapore Grand Prix’s unique blend of race action and entertainment also proved a winner with fans online, with American singer Ariana Grande — who has 113 million Instagram fans and 52 million followers on Twitter — stealing the show with 74 per cent of total mentions. 

Pop group One Republic was ranked second at 15 per cent, while electronic dance music and pop duo Chainsmokers was third at six per cent.

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