We met up again with the founder of the Podium Lounge, Robbie Hoyes-Cock, to talk more about Singapore’s prime celebrity event, what you can expect and why he cheers for Fernando Alonso.
You are the founder of the Podium Lounge, which has been running since 2009 in Singapore and has extended to other race weekends. How did the project come about?
I was approached in July of 2009 by Mr Peter Mainguy, the GM of The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, to host a ticketed Formula 1 themed event over the Grand Prix Season weekend in September. At first I hesitated, because I know it takes considerably more than 2 months to stage a successful A-list event of this scale. But I loved the venue (initially the poolside and since 2014, the Grand Ballroom) and through my extensive network of brands I was able to very hurriedly bring onboard sponsor partners, such as Audermars Piguet who invited their 3 Formula Driver ambassadors at the time: Rubens Barrichello, Sebastian Buemi & Jarno Trulli. We welcomed about 800 guests per night in our very first year.
Looking back at previous Podium Lounge events, what was the most memorable moment for you personally?
Without a shadow of a doubt it would be the moment I was requested by the Head of Marketing at Red Bull Racing to present a 12L Balthazar bottle of champagne to Sebastian Vettel at The Podium Lounge Abu Dhabi in 2013. That race was the team’s celebration of Vettel’s 4th consecutive World Championship and Red Bull Racing’s 1-2 finish at the last race of the season. It was a surreal moment, not only because I was sharing such a special moment with ‘Seb’, but because this all took place within our very 1st international Podium Lounge event.
Stand a chance to win tickets to the Singapore F1 Podium Lounge 2015
Who would you love to see at the Podium Lounge that hasn’t been there?
Both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have yet to make appearances at The Podium Lounge. They’re both English (as am I) and I know they like to party. So that is the plan for this year’s event and we have a number of very senior people in Formula 1 working with us to make this happen!
Podium Lounge is extending to the races in KL, Austin and Shanghai. What is next? Will the Podium Lounge become a set side-event for all races?
Austin, Shanghai and KL are all on our radar and we have enquiries from potential partners in Rio & Mexico, which is also joining the F1 circuit this year.
Believe it or not, we are still perfecting The Podium Lounge brand and the way we operate internationally. 2014 was a super (and very fun 12 months), expanding our celebrity-driven, post-race party to Melbourne, Monaco and Abu Dhabi.
We have not set agenda; my partner Steve Yallop and I are just having a lot of fun in organising these events and pushing the boundaries so we will see where the next 12 months take us.
The Podium Lounge will return for the race weekend on 18.-20. September. Who will be on the guest list this year?
In 2014, at The Podium Lounge Singapore we had a record 25 celebrities and 12 Formula 1 Drivers present in past, including Nadia Ali, Stephane Pompougnac, Gordon Ramsay, Sir Jacky Stewart, David Coulthard, Damon Hill, Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert, Fernando Alonso, Jacques Villenueve and Malaysia’s only ever F1 Driver Alex Yoong.
This year’s guests remain a tightly guarded secret, but all of the top teams have been invited to join the celebrations. Our partnerships with DHL, F1 Racing Magazine, Bacardi Martini and GP Management mean that we have the most extraordinary access to the who’s who of the Racing Community again this year.
Being involved so closely with Formula 1, you must have become a big fan. Who are you cheering for this year?
Fernando Alonso – because he has attended The Podium Lounge Singapore for the last 3 years and there’s something awe-inspiring about the diminutive Spaniard who earns $40 a million a year for excelling in his craft.
3 reasons not to miss Singapore’s Podium Lounge this year?
1. The headline talent line-up is the biggest we’ve had with Kristian Nairn (aka Hodor from Game of Thrones) on Friday 18 September, Fierce Angel with Mark Doyle (the creator of Hed Kandi) on Saturday 19 September and Sky Blu (from the duo LMFAO) boosting the party celebrations for the race night, Sunday 20 September.
2. Galeries Bartoux are hosting a mind-blowing Andy Warhol exhibition, which is a major highlight of this year’s event.
3. The Covetella Fashion Circuit curated by international style icon Carol Chen is going to be simply out of this world with a nightly couture showcase that will have the rich and famous showing up in force.