Corruption Probe Triggers Reassessment of Singapore’s Prestigious F1 Race Agreement

The Singaporean authorities are set to reassess their contract for hosting the Formula One Grand Prix following allegations of corruption involving a former key government figure.

In response to corruption charges filed against its former transport minister, the Singapore government has announced plans to revisit the conditions under which it hosts the prestigious Formula One Grand Prix races. This decision was confirmed today by a government spokesperson.

S. Iswaran, the city-state’s ex-Transport Minister, stepped down from his post last month after being indicted on 27 counts stemming from an extensive corruption probe within this Southeast Asian metropolis. Iswaran has entered a plea of not guilty to all charges, the majority of which pertain to corrupt practices.

The scandal also entangles Ong Beng Seng, a billionaire and influential figure in the hotel industry, acknowledged for his pivotal role in introducing the inaugural Formula One night race to Singapore in 2008. Speaking to Parliament, Grace Fu, the Minister for Trade and Industry, highlighted that, given the serious nature of these corruption claims, a reevaluation of the F1 hosting agreement is underway.

Grace Fu assured that there is currently no evidence to suggest that the F1 or any other agreements were negotiated to the government’s disadvantage. The review of the 2022 race edition is being conducted by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), which initially secured a deal with Ong’s Singapore GP organization in 2007 to host the night race.

The agreement has been renewed multiple times, in 2012, 2017, and most recently in 2022, ensuring the event remains in Singapore until at least 2028. Despite the ongoing review, Grace Fu confirmed that planning for the 2024 Grand Prix is proceeding as scheduled, indicating no expected disruptions to the upcoming event.

Among the allegations faced by Iswaran are accusations of accepting bribes or other benefits from Ong Beng Seng, including flights on Ong’s private jet and tickets to the Grand Prix, an event Iswaran had a hand in advising on.

This investigation is closely watched by the citizens of Singapore, a nation known for its status as a leading financial hub and its strong anti-corruption stance, home to a population of around five million.