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GP Week : Issue 168
w BRIEFLY » The BBC is facing another shake-up to its Formula One programming following the news that popular host Jake Humphrey will be leaving the corporation to take on a new job fronting BT Vision’s football coverage. “I've grown up at the BBC, and whilst I hope to work with them in the future, I'd also like to place on record my thanks to them,” Humphrey said when news of his imminent departure broke. “I am incredibly grateful to all colleagues, and of course the viewers, for their incredible support from CBBC all the way to Formula One. My focus from the start of 2013 is on making BT's coverage of football the best this country has ever seen.” Humphrey’s new deal is worth a reported £250,000 a year. » Caterham this week announced that Cyril Abiteboul will be taking on the role of team CEO, and will work with the team full-time from the end of the year. Abiteboul is currently deputy managing director of Renault Sport F1, and will combine the two roles until his Viry contract expires. “I am delighted that Cyril has accepted our offer to join us as CEO of Caterham F1 Team and I am sure his appointment will have an immediate positive effect on our continuing development and growth as a force in Formula One,” said Riad Asmat. “We have been looking for the right person to lead the F1 team for a considerable period and Cyril fits all the criteria we set out in identifying the right CEO for our team. He is a key part of our long-term development and will help us to build on the foundations we have created since we first entered the sport in September 2009.” Some like it hot, and others like it dark. In Singapore, Formula One fans have become accustomed to having it both ways – over the past five years, the sport’s only night race has positioned itself as one of the calendar’s key destination grands prix, second only to Monaco. But despite the Marina Bay race’s popularity among fans, drivers, and F1 personnel, the circus arrived in Singapore uncertain whether we were likely to return. The original five-year race contract was in its final year, and the organisers were known to be playing hardball in their renewal negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone. By Friday, however, when news emerged of a special Saturday evening press conference to be held jointly by the Singapore race organisers and the Formula One supremo, it was taken as read that an extension announcement was imminent. And on Saturday evening, it was official – with negotiations finally concluded that afternoon, the Singapore race contract was extended to 2017, giving Formula One five more years in the jewel of the east. “Negotiations have taken some time,” explained S Iswaran, second minister for trade and industry, “because all parties have very specific objective, and we wanted to arrive at a mutually beneficial outcome.” Following a thorough cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Singaporean government, it was decided that the positives of prolonging their involvement in Formula One outweighed the inconvenience of shutting down sections of the city on an annual basis for the purposes of hosting a grand prix. More than 150,000 foreign visitors have come to Singapore for the grand prix over the past five years, and have spent SIN$140 million to SIN$150 million per year in the week of the race. While those costs balance out the race hosting fee charged by Formula One Administration, they do not include the international publicity generated by the grand prix, which itself attracts tourists at other points in the year. As for Formula One? Singapore has proved itself to be a portal to Asian investment, and with the region a key growth area for many of the sport’s sponsors, it was inevitable that FOA would do its best to keep the race on the calendar for many more years to come. “We're very happy with what we've got in Singapore,” Ecclestone told reporters. “All of us without exception like being here and that made it difficult to negotiate. We eventually got there.” FIVE MORE YEARS OF SIN CITY F1 >>> NEWS 9 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: