It is official, the F1 Dutch Grand Prix will return to the F1 Championship calendar in 2020 after a 35-year absence. The venue will be the Zandvoort Circuit in the country’s west coast and 37 km away from the capital, Amsterdam. The persistent rumours regarding the return of the North European country have therefore been finally confirmed.
The initial 3-year agreement means Holland will be a host country at least until 2022. The popularity of Dutch driver from Red Bull Max Verstappen has been crucial to persuade officials in their decision. At the same time, national brewery Heineken will become the race’s official sponsor; another key factor in the decision.
The inclusion of the F1 Dutch Grand Prix in the 2020 calendar follows that of the Vietnam GP which will also make its debut next year. Although dates are still to be confirmed, the race will take place sometime before the Monaco GP, possibly in the month of May:
“We have yet to finalise the 2020 calendar but F1 Dutch Grand Prix it will take place around the time we are now, possibly before Monaco, as we come back to Europe after the first three races” – explained Chasey Carey, President of Liberty Media, owners of the F1 -.
The inclusion of the Dutch GP might threaten the Spanish one
If finally as rumoured, the F1 Dutch Grand Prix falls in the month of May, the Spanish GP could be put into jeopardy, with both appointments competing for a spot at the beginning of May. Some think this announcement could be a death sentence for the Barcelona GP.
Carey himself has confirmed that the number of races in 2020 will remain 21, which means some of the actual venues will have to go. The most likely candidates to be dropped are Germany, Italy and, particularly Spain.
Negotiations between the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, however, are still underway and sources from within the track have reassured the public that they have for a while been taking Holland’s comeback into account.
Welcome to the F1 Dutch Grand Prix
Chasey Carey, chief executive officer of the Formula 1 group, has declared his satisfaction for the return of the F1 to the land of the tulips;
“We are particularly pleased to announce that Formula 1 is returning to race in the Netherlands, at the Zandvoort track. From the beginning of our tenure in Formula 1, we said we wanted to race in new venues, while also respecting the sport’s historic roots in Europe” – The American CEO has declared -;
“Next season, therefore, we will have a brand-new street race that will be held in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, as well as 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” – continued Carey -;
“In recent years, we’ve seen a resurgence of interest in Formula 1 in Holland, mainly due to the enthusiastic support for the talented Max Verstappen. No doubt this will be the dominant colour in the Zandvoort grandstands next year” .
Jean Todt has also expressed himself along those lines about F1 Dutch Grand Prix: “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 Formula 1 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 Formula 1, KNAF – the Dutch ASN – and the circuit organisation”.
Upgrade works in Zandvoort
The Zandvoort circuit will undergo an extensive refurbishment programme to hos F1 Dutch Grand Prix; necessary to meet current FIA regulations which establish the criteria to become an F1 venue. Among the changes will be the moving of the start/finish straight.
The track has a current length of 4.307 meters with 13 bends. Zandvoort has hosted a total of 30 Grand Prix in its lifetime in the years 1952, 1953 and 1955 and continuously from 1958 until 1985. Amongst those that have conquered the top of the podium in the Dutch circuit are Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda and Alain Prost.