Amber Lounge has since expanded to include dinners, fashion shows and club events in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Mexico; and Singapore. The parties at the Singapore Grand Prix are particularly lively, with half a dozen groups promoting events.
This weekend will include the 2017 Motorsport in Asia Business Forum, a business and networking event with speakers from the sport and automotive industries. The forum also includes access to after-race parties hosted by Giancarlo Fisichella, who once raced for the Benetton and Renault teams, with live music performances.
Track-side hotels are the heart of the post-race action in Singapore, with the Ritz-Carlton hosting the Podium Lounge, a nightclub open all weekend, with live performances by Macy Gray and Coolio, among others.
Amber Lounge builds a custom venue near Singapore’s Millenia Tower and holds all-night parties during the weekend, beginning with a fashion show on Saturday night.
“A natural evolution for us has been the Amber Lounge Fashion Show, which is the prelude to the weekend’s parties at three of our events: Monaco, Singapore and Mexico City,” Irvine said. “Fashion is such a huge part of the spectacle of Amber Lounge that it was an obvious extension of the brand.” The fashion shows also raise money for charity.
While the club nights are open to the public, deep pockets are required. Tables for eight at Amber Lounge can cost up to $23,000, drinks included, while basic individual passes are about $900.
“Fundamentally, we’re about celebrating the race weekend, partying in style and having fun, but 100 percent business takes place in Amber Lounge as well,” Irvine said. “Ours is a dynamic club-style environment where guests can enjoy mixing with F1 drivers, chart-topping artists, celebrities, royalty, sports and movie stars.
“I always have a chill-out networking terrace at every event, and we think carefully where we place guests who are there to network,” she said.
The Singapore Grand Prix has been a top party destination since it first appeared on the calendar in 2008, despite the race’s odd hours. The grand prix weekend has been run on a European schedule to suit the sport’s largest TV market. Where most grands prix start at 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, the Singapore Grand Prix’s start time is 8 p.m.
Formula One personnel work from the early afternoon until the early hours of the morning, a schedule that keeps some party planners away.
Elena Chatzikonstantinou is one of them. She is one of the recent innovators of the F1 night-life business and founded the Code 20, a nightclub experience that eschews the traditional private concerts.
It instead holds events that include using dancers and light shows in Shanghai and having circus performers entertain guests in Abu Dhabi.
“The Singapore Grand Prix is one-of-a-kind and exciting,” Chatzikonstantinou said. “It might sound ideal to some to throw a Monaco-style F1 party with champagne and bikinis yacht-side, cheering with F1 cars on the background. Perfect shots for Instagram stories. However, I have been approached multiple times and called to examine the probability of holding the Code 20 events in Singapore, and every time I have decided that it is not a good idea.
“The teams in Singapore work until 3 or 4 in the morning, sometimes even until 5 or 6 a.m. Why party?” she said.
Amber Lounge and the Code 20 are the clear leaders of the sport’s night life, but neither is an official event of Formula One. Its Paddock Club, which has been around since the 1980s, offers corporate hospitality packages, with food and drink and great views of the track. But Formula One has done little once the race is over.
All this could soon change. Since taking control of the sport one year ago, Liberty Media has made fan engagement and promotional activities a priority. Speaking to Autosport magazine this month, Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations, talked about a future of nightclub events in grand prix host cities.
Liberty Media has expanded track-side entertainment during grand prix weekends, increasing the number of activities in the general admission areas and official F1 FanZones. V.I.P. guests also get the chance to ride in a two-seater Formula One car.
Liberty said its next step was to increase the promotion of Formula One away from the racetrack, like it did with the F1 Live London event, which was held before the British Grand Prix in July. It attracted over 100,000 people.