AS RACING spectators fill the Grandstand and hobnob at the Pit next weekend, they can contemplate how much more it is costing them to watch the Formula One Grand Prix in Singapore.
The country is ranked at a worse-than- middling 13 out of 19 Grand Prix destinations in terms of affordability, according to travel site TripAdvisor's TripIndex Racing. This also makes Singapore the seventh most expensive city overall, and the costliest one in the region if the cheapest ticket for the Sunday race is used as a yardstick.
According to the index, Singapore's cheapest Sunday Grand Prix ticket alone costs S$207.33 for an adult. TripIndex Racing collected the prices between March and April this year from several sources, including the official Formula One website, it said.
Assuming the average petrolhead also scarfs down a burger and chips (S$17.08), guzzles a soda (S$5.58), drowns his sorrows in a pint of beer (S$13.58) should his team lose, and lays his jetlagged head on a pillow in a hotel near the Marina Bay Street Circuit the night before (S$379.10), he will spend a total of S$622.67 in Singapore.
In contrast, the entire experience (burger et al) would set you back just a third of the price - S$206.85 - in Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian capital holds pole position in TripIndex Racing's affordability stakes, based on the cheapest ticket. The downside, of course, is that you would have been in KL.
Based on maximum ticket price, the Monza circuit in Italy becomes the cheapest place to watch the Grand Prix - at S$552.11 for the whole shebang, with the ticket price accounting for S$173.32 of the total.
Even in the most-expensive-ticket league, Singapore remains the seventh most costly destination, with a ticket price of S$877.50 making up almost 70 per cent of the total cost of S$1,292.84.
If it softens the blow any, TripIndex Racing points out that Singapore's GP is "the only night race in the F1 calendar held in the heart of the city at Marina Bay. The tickets to the Singapore Grand Prix also provide access to a wide variety of food, beverage, and entertainment options."
Sochi, but not so cheap
Proper consolation can be found beneath Singapore's spot in the table. At Russia's Sochi circuit, watching hyper-powered machines go around in circles costs a king's ransom of S$534.54 for the cheapest ticket alone. But a similar ticket at Abu Dhabi tops them all at a sheikhly S$741.28, making it the most expensive Grand Prix destination this year for S$1,319.23 in total.
Tickets aside, TripIndex Racing's data is an exercise in sticker shock. Singapore has somehow managed to have the most expensive beer of the lot, at an ironically sobering S$13.58 a pint. In contrast, Budapest has the cheapest grog at S$3.20 a pint.
At the Monza circuit where the race was held last weekend, la bella figura can be costly when it comes to food. There, a meal was pegged at a staggering S$36.26 - the most expensive of the 19 cities. According to Trip- Advisor, prices were taken from the average cost of a burger and chips, or a "standard dish containing meat" if burgers and chips were not available. It is assumed that spectators stuck to the pasta primavera last week.
Sing that song, baby
As Singapore's Grand Prix approaches next weekend, racing enthusiasts will have Jennifer Lopez's post-race performance to look forward to, at the very least.
It is anybody's guess if she will sing a hit song of hers from 2002, called Jenny from the Block. A rags-to-riches ode to Ms Lopez's Bronx roots, there is a line in there that goes: "Used to have a little, now I have a lot."
By the time a Grand Prix visitor is done emptying his pockets in this town, he will be able to empathise with this line - if only in reverse.