The F1 Singapore Grand Prix street circuit has received in-principle approval from FIA, the world governing body for motorsports, Minster of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran announced on Friday.
Expressing delight at the speedy go-ahead, the Minister said: "This approval has come quite quickly, within just four months since we announced the hosting of the F1 race."
But the race promotors, Singapore Grand Prix, are still awaiting confirmation on whether it can stage a night race, which will be held exactly one year from now on Sept 28, 2008.
Mr Iswaran said the race promoters, with the strong support of government agencies led by STB, have made good progress and are on track to presenting a very special race to the world next year.
He described the Singapore's street circuit in Marina Centre as a compelling win-win proposition for Formula One and Singapore.
"It will be an attractive and exciting Formula One race venue on many counts," he said and went on to highlight the track circuit."
The Singapore Grand Prix is Asia's first street race and it will run counter-clockwise, making Singapore one of only three circuits in the world to do so, along with Istanbul in Turkey and Sao Paulo in Brazil.
Spanning 5.067km, with 14 left hand turns and 10 right hand turns, the Singapore street circuit will present several thrilling straights and tight turns for dramatic action that will not only test the capabilities of the F1 drivers but also satisfy even the most avid race enthusiasts.
From a Singaporean perspective, the circuit will showcase Singapore's skyline in the heart of the city and many historic buildings. It will take the F1 drivers and half a billion television viewers past some of our iconic landmarks like the City Hall, the former Supreme Court, the Padang and The Esplanade. As you can well imagine, the scene outside The Esplanade will be quite different one year from today.
The in-principle go ahead for the circuit from FIA will pave the way for road works to commence.?
The Land Transport Authority will manage modifications to some existing infrastructure such as road kerbs and traffic islands as well as the construction of a new 1.2 km road alongside the pit building that forms the start and finish straight. The FIA will make several inspections on the progress in the coming months and issue the full circuit licence after the final inspection on the week of the race itself.
Mr Iswaran said Singapore is awaiting confirmation from the FIA on whether the Sept 28 Grand Prix will be the first night race in F1 history. STB and other government agencies are working closely with the race promoter to ensure the lighting trials run smoothly, he said.
Meanwhile, Singapore GP will launch the sale of corporate hospitality packages in November and the season passes in December.
Night racing has become the latest fad in Formula One, even though an actual race has yet to be held under floodlit conditions.
Whilst it would certainly be a spectacle to have F1 cars screaming around the city circuit against the night sky, the economic dimension of having the race at a more convenient time for viewers in Europe is just as crucial.
Malaysia, Japan, China, and India have all been said to be looking at possible night races to cater to European audiences, who would have needed to wake up at 3 or 4am to catch the season opener in Melbourne this year.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has already impressed upon Australian race organisers that night racing is imperative, with global viewership of the Melbourne leg falling from 339 million in 1999 to 82 million.
However, drivers have also been divided over the issue of safety, with some concerned about the possibility of a mid-race blackout, and blinding glare coming off puddles in the event of rain.
The organisers of next year's race in Singapore have given the assurance that safety is of prime concern, and a night race will only happen if the motorsports' governing body, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), gives the go-ahead.
Recent trials of night-time racing in France were successful, and two more trials - one in Singapore and one overseas - are expected soon.