It's been rumoured for some time now, but the Dutch Grand Prix will be returning to the Formula 1 calendar next season. After the announcement that the Hanoi Street Circuit and a new track in Rio de Janiero (in place of Interlagos) will join the calendar in 2020, this is a much-needed piece of news. This is a very popular move by F1's organizers, because Zandvoort is a circuit that many are itching to go to since its renovation in the 1990's. With 35 years away, this is a long overdue return to the roster for a race in the Netherlands and here's why it's a good thing for the sport!
#1 Zandvoort is a Historic Circuit
Most young fans of Formula 1 will have never heard of Zandvoort, let alone have watched a race taking place around it, but the track is one with a rich history. The Dutch Grand Prix was originally run between 1950 and 1985, being omitted only four times during that period, and Circuit Park Zandvoort, (as it was known then) hosting on every occasion. To put that into context, the Dutch GP has been on the F1 calendar more often than San Marino, South Africa, Mexico and all of the modern Asian races despite not being a part of the roster in over three decades.
There have been some classic Formula 1 moments at the Dutch GP, such as Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet's collision during their title battle in 1983, James Hunt's first win in 1975 and Gilles Villeneuve's heroic lap on just three of his Ferrari's four wheels in 1979. With F1 returning to the Netherlands, there will no doubt be more unforgettable moments at the Dutch GP in the future!
#2 It's a Fine Track
Because it's not been on the Formula 1 calendar since the 1980's many fans will question what Zandvoort is like to drive and race around. Major renovations took place in the late 1990's and early 2000's and the track went from being one in a state of disrepair to one which hosted major racing series such as DTM (German Touring Cars). The circuit is much shorter these days due to development around the track but it still retains some of its original features.
Zandvoort is named after the seaside town which it is located near to and the beach's sand dunes define the track. The first corner, the Tarzan hairpin, is a deceptively tight cambered corner where overtaking is a possibility, but only for the very brave (just ask Prost). Following Turn 1, there are a series of bends before the high-speed and extremely cambered Sheivlak and Hondenvlak corners, it will be a special sight to watch modern Grand Prix cars flying through there. Overtaking will be difficult around this track, there's not much doubt about that, but that's the case for most tracks in F1 at the moment anyway.
Major work needs to take place for it to become an FIA Grade 1 (the required standard for an F1 Grand Prix), such as the kerbs being flatter and perhaps some of the camber being removed from some corners. Whatever changes though, it will be a very welcome re-addition to the Formula 1 calendar.
#3 The Fans are Phenomenal
Ever since Max Verstappen burst onto the F1 scene in 2015, more and more fans from the Netherlands are attending Grands Prix in Europe and afar. Up until now, the closest races for the Dutch fans to attend have been those in Belgium and Germany, but that will change next year. To say that the Verstappen faithful are loyal and travel in numbers is an understatement, they always make themselves known with their trademark orange attire and general bombastic nature at race weekends. Even when they're a numerical minority, they often out-sing the other sections of fans, so imagine if they're a majority, just like they likely will be in Zandvoort.
It will definitely be an amazing spectacle to behold, and with Amsterdam just 30 minutes away by train, fans from around the world will be flocking to Holland for a good time at the start of the European season.
#4 Liberty Media keeping their Promises
Ever since Liberty Media took-over Formula 1 in 2017, fans have been split on whether their introduction into the sport would be a positive or negative presence. Most were sick and tired of Bernie Ecclestone's old regime, but sometimes it's better the devil you know than the one you don't. One of the promises which were made by Liberty was that the traditional European races would be protected from being removed from the calendar. Since then, the German and French Grands Prix have both returned to the roster while no other European races have been discontinued.
Critics were worried after the Vietnam Grand Prix was announced to be run in 2020 that Liberty would follow the money these events bring rather than the concerns of the fans who attend the racing weekends. The Dutch Grand Prix returning isn't all good however, as its first week of May slot is when the Spanish GP is usually on, and with Catalunya currently not having a contract for the next season, many expect it to be discontinued, although this rumour isn't currently confirmed or denied.
Are you looking forward to the return of the Dutch Grand Prix? Whether you are or not, let us know why in the comments below!