Most will agree that the F1 was a tremendous success for Singapore. The way it was all put together in such a short space of time and in such a small area (by F1 standards) was phenomenal.
The impact it will have on global awareness and tourism, not just during the Grand Prix weekend, but the whole year around is also one of the huge positives.
However, as an F1 fan, the reality is that it is a very tight circuit - both for the fans and for the racing. The human traffic jam that developed at the start of 2nd practice on Friday was simply unacceptable - I was caught in the middle for about 20 minutes and it could have easily turned into a tragic situation.
On race day itself, knowing that there were so few viewing opportunities available for Walkabout Pass holders, I turned up at the gate at around 2:30pm and went straight to one of the designated standing areas. To my surprise, the standing area was already lined with fans - 2 or 3 people deep. Other fans had the same idea and soon the standing area became packed with people.
Needless to say, it was extremely tiring standing in the same spot for such a great length of time (there was no room to sit and I couldn't leave the place for fear that I would lose my spot - despite having people in front of me, it felt that this was the best place I was going to find on the whole circuit). However, the atmosphere was amazing - the group of fans around me were friendly and we were able to keep each others spirits up.
There was a group of older gentlemen (in their late 60s) from England nearby who took it in turns to sit on a garden chair (borrowed from a nearby bar) and it was quite a surprise when the security staff came up and took the chair away from them.
When the race finally got underway, we were all hot and sweaty and the usual scrambling for cameras and movement towards the barriers took place. About an hour into the race, one of the older gentlemen behind me appeared to pass out through exhaustion. He later recovered and stood up, but a few minutes later fainted again and had to be put into the recovery position before eventually being taken out of the crowded area.
So, besides the obvious safety issue, the point I would like to make is that for the price of $168 the 3-day walkabout pass was not good value for money. There were far too few vantage points for these ticket holders, so a lot of people ended up without a good view of the cars. I would therefore like to appeal to the organisers to increase the number of free standing areas ten-fold! Each standing area should also be multi-level - so that those standing behind can see over the heads of those at the front. Otherwise, the walkabout pass will be very poor value for money. The feeling of not getting my money's worth was compounded when I saw that so many people were able to get a free and unobstructed view of the track from One Raffles Link.
I would also like to throw open the question of how to improve the track itself. Without the intervention of the safety car, we wouldn't have had much of a race. There are simply too few overtaking opportunities and too many short straights. Tracks do not have to stay exactly the same year on year - so why not try to suggest some improvements now. For example, if the cars went around the circuit clockwise (instead of anti-clockwise), this might create a few extra overtaking opportunities (e.g. along Esplanade Drive).
All in all, it was a fantastic experience and I still believe it was a huge success for Singapore. However, it would be interesting to know others' opinions of how it can be improved for future years.