Revving up for the 2014 Singapore GP

Callum Bothwell
First-class project management skills transform a densely populated city into a twisting street circuit for Formula One's only night-time street race.

In many ways the Singapore Grand Prix is just another project, but it does have a sting in the tail – it can't be even one second late because there's a huge audience, thousands of journalists, a bunch of satellites, millions of viewers and an eye-watering amount of advertising money all hinging on the race starting at 8pm on September 21.

As the engineering project managers, Faithful+Gould ensures the smooth construction, operation and removal of the racing circuit and its supporting facilities. Our role began with the 2008 inaugural race and although the project has become easier after six years of experience, it still retains the buzz and excitement that we all felt when we first became involved.

It's an amazing event, one of just three street races in the FIA Formula One world championships, and the only one that runs fully at night under lights. Drivers take just under two hours to complete 61 laps in 30°C heat and 80-90 per cent humidity, in what many consider to be the most spectacular race on the calendar.

The project is a great example of the way we handle challenges in Singapore:

  • Close relationship with the client's team, working shoulder to shoulder.

  • We originally sent pioneers in to figure out what needed to be done, resulting in nothing being impossible because every problem had to have a solution and we had no one to fall back on.

  • Working year-round on the project, providing extensive communication, meticulous planning and careful scheduling to ensure timely delivery.

  • Multiple stakeholder management, supporting Singapore GP in managing relations with the Government Agencies such as the Singapore Tourism Board, Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Land Transport Authority, and the Singapore Police Force.

  • Scheduling installation of infrastructure, maintenance and testing of track surface and installation of power cables, pylons and light projectors.

  • Liaison with the principal hospitality providers, such as the Singapore Flyer and surrounding hotels.

  • Collaboration with government agencies, local businesses and property owners, for minimal disruption to the community in this commercial district.

  • Spectator planning and logistics expertise, to incorporate passenger flows, crowd control, security, spectator sightlines, corporate hospitality, food and beverage requirements and garbage collection.

  • Liaison with specialist contractors for trackside live music performances, with stage, sound and light requirements.

Our team of 40 works crazy hours leading up to the event, and then they party hard when it's all done and dusted! The camaraderie in the frenetic days leading up to the race is a credit to everyone involved. Problems inevitably occur - every year there's something new - but the race has always run.

The chequered flag is a great spectacle, but that first roar of that pace car tells me the race will run and our delivery risk has once again been well managed by our team.

There's a key time and noise every year that I await with much anticipation and it never fails to give me a noticeable sense of relief. It's around 4pm on the Thursday afternoon when our work on the track is done, all inspections have been completed and the track goes "hot". I can hear the roar of the pace car from my office and it's the sign we have handed over the track to FIA who control all aspects of the race. The chequered flag is a great spectacle, but that first roar of that pace car tells me the race will run and our delivery risk has once again been well managed by our team.

I'm proud that our team brings energy, experience and best practice project management principles to this unique project. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish our Faithful+Gould Engineering Project Managers, Singapore GP, Singapore Tourism Board and everyone involved in the 2014 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX another year of success.

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