The sight may be glitzy, but the sound is deafening. At the Singapore Formula One, where the races are being run on a network of roads in the heart of the city-state, earplugs aren’t an advisory — they are an absolute must.
The vroom of the cars, as they prepared for the qualifying rounds on Saturday evening, could be heard clearly from a helipad on the 72nd floor of a hotel.
The F1 event is Singapore’s version of Diwali.
The roads are lit up gorgeously. And though some traffic routes have been blocked and alternate ones suggested, the locals are proud.
It is, after all, pop star Beyonce Knowles’s first concert in the city. So the rest of the loudness is tolerated.
It’s a different roar on the ground, though. Residents and passersby along the blocks near the circuit have been given free earplugs. Some enterprising people are also selling it for two Singaporean dollars (about Rs 50).
Rocson Chang, assistant director (international communications) at Singapore Tourism, was at the races last year too. “Trust me,” he said, “the sound of screeching race cars comes closest to a plane taking off.”
Down at the Pitt Building, the VIP section where tickets cost only a few thousand dollars, chances of bumping into a celebrity is high. There are pop stars such as the Black Eyed Peas, Backstreet Boys — and Beyonce, of course.