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Singapore GP 'unconfirmed' for next year

Singapore: Next year's Singapore Grand Prix remains "subject to confirmation", reports said on Friday, as organisers head into high-stakes contract talks with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone this weekend.

The glittering night race is set for its fifth edition on Sunday but the hosts are stalling on a five-year extension, after complaining the present deal is financially unappealing.

On a provisional Formula One calendar for 2013, Singapore is one of four races marked "subject to confirmation", along with New Jersey, Germany and South Korea, according to Autosport.com.

The floodlit Grand Prix, which snakes through a spectacular city-scape in the southeast Asian financial hub, has rapidly established itself as a favourite on the Formula One circuit.

But it is one of several venues eager to reduce costs during an enduring worldwide economic slowdown. South Korea and Australia have also called for a reduction in the race fees they pay to Formula One.

Ecclestone is expected to make a statement about the race on Saturday, the report said, while local media are tipping an announcement by Singaporean authorities on Sunday.

Formula One also plans to launch an initial public offering in Singapore, although stock market turmoil has affected timing originally rumoured to be the middle of this year.

High costs have caused friction for several hosts of Formula One, which has expanded aggressively from its traditional European domain with seven races in the Asia-Pacific region this season.

In 2008, Chinese Grand Prix organisers said they were prepared to walk away from Formula One, before later extending their deal.

The Australian Grand Prix has long been the subject of controversy with estimates that it costs local taxpayers Aus$50 million ($52.5 million) to stage.

According to the provisional calendar, next year's South Korean race is still in question despite comments from organisers that they had negotiated a cheaper deal.

In the schedule, which will be submitted for approval by motor racing chiefs, New Jersey's inaugural American Grand Prix replaces Valencia, and Bahrain keeps its slot despite its protest-hit edition this year.

The 20-stop season will start in Australia on March 17 and end in Brazil on November 24, with a long break of more than a month between the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 28 and Belgium on September 1.

In April, Formula One rights-holder Ecclestone faced down calls to cancel the Bahrain race for a second season running over violent anti-government protests.

The race passed off without incident, although protesters tried to block routes to the track with burning tyres and rubbish. Tensions in Bahrain have since cooled, although sporadic demonstrations continue.

Provisional Formula One 2013 calendar as reported by Autosport.com:

March 17: Australia ( Melbourne)
March 24: Malaysia (Sepang)
April 14: China ( Shanghai)
April 21: Bahrain (Sakhir)
May 12: Spain ( Barcelona)
May 26: Monaco (Monte Carlo)
June 9: Canada ( Montreal)
June 16: America (New Jersey)*
June 30: Britain (Silverstone)
July 21: Germany (Nurburgring)*
July 28: Hungary (Hungaroring)
September 1: Belgium (Spa)
September 8: Italy (Monza)
September 22: Singapore (Marina Bay)*
October 6: Japan (Suzuka)
October 13: Korea (Yeongam)*
October 27: India ( Buddh International Circuit)
November 3: Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)
November 17: United States (Austin)
November 24: Brazil (Interlagos)

(Agencies)

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