The Dutch GP will return to the F1 calendar from 2020 season at Circuit Zandvoort after 35 long years of absence.
With the rise of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in F1 – the only Dutch driver with a grand prix win to his name, the fan following in the Netherlands increased massively in the last few years with many traveling around the globe to support Verstappen.
The Dutchman started with events at local circuits too with the help of Red Bull. With the growing popularity, the talks around Dutch GP started doing rounds as the fight was on between Zandvoort and Assen to possibly host the races.
So far, only Zandvoort has staged F1 grand prix races before, with the last happening in 1985 which was won by Niki Lauda. In all, there has been 30 Dutch GP so far with Ferrari having the most number of wins at nine and Jim Clark the most at four.
The reports regarding its return was made imminent and has been confirmed now by F1 with a deal signed between the promoters and Liberty Media for a return in 2020 after 35 years gap. It is the second new/return grand prix confirmed after Vietnam GP.
It isn’t certain as to which race it will replace but with Spanish GP looking more likely to stay, the race could eventually replace Germany as Hockenheim is out of deal after 2019. With Mexico looking out too, Vitenam should be replacing it to make it 21 races.
The current deal is for three years which runs until the 2023 season as Heineken has been named as the principal sponsor which includes the naming rights. Upon the announcement, F1’s Chase Carey said: “We are particularly pleased to announce that F1 is returning to race in the Netherlands, at the Zandvoort track.
“From the beginning of our tenure in F1, we said we wanted to race in new venues, while also respecting the sport’s historic roots in Europe. Next season therefore, we will have a brand new street race that will be held in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, as well the return to Zandvoort, after an absence of 35 years; a track that has contributed to the popularity of the sport all over the world.
“In recent years, we’ve seen a resurgence of interest in F1 in Holland, mainly due to the enthusiastic support for the talented Max Verstappen, as seen from the sea of orange at so many races. No doubt this will be the dominant colour in the Zandvoort grandstands next year.”
FIA President Jean Todt added: “I am pleased to see that Zandvoort will be part of the proposed calendar for the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship, and thankful for the hard work of F1 to bring the sport back to the Netherlands.
“It is a circuit with a long and impressive history of competition and is a great challenge for drivers, and with the popularity of Max Verstappen I’m sure there will be a huge number of fans in attendance.
“There is now a lot of preparation needed to bring the circuit up to the required safety standards to host a Formula 1 race, and we will work towards this together with F1, KNAF – the Dutch ASN – and the circuit organisation.”
And finally, Jan Lammers, DGP Sporting Director added: “The Zandvoort Circuit is legendary and known worldwide and we’re delighted to see it host a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship once again.
“To meet the wishes of F1 and the required standards of the FIA the circuit and infrastructure will be modernized within a few areas, with the work completed well ahead of the race in 2020. In addition, the municipality of Zandvoort has recently invested heavily to improve access to the municipality and the circuit.”