Mar.23 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Singapore’s street race could be the key to the stock market floatation of formula one.

The Business Times reports that with the sport apparently wanting to float on Singapore’s exchange, the first step will be a new contract for the Asian city-state’s annual night street race.

The current race contract expires this year.

“Negotiations are underway but it is understood that one sticking point is the sanction fee,” the report said.

The Business Times said the Singapore government currently pays about $40 million for its race every year; a figure “roughly twice” the amount paid by Malaysia.

“The Singapore government wants formula one to be listed here and for that to happen, it knows the race has to remain here,” an unnamed banker said.

“But at the same time, it doesn’t want to pay top dollar again. So the bargaining should continue for some time.”

The banker added that F1 chief executive Ecclestone also holds a strong negotiating hand.

“(He) knows Singapore needs him because the SGX (exchange) hasn’t had any big names in recent years. Being the shrewd businessman that he is, he will play hardball.”