For the first time in over 30 years, the Dutch Grand Prix and Circuit Zandvoort will make their return to the Formula 1 calendar for the 2020 season.
An agreement between F1 and Zandvoort’s partners – SportVibes, TIG Sports and the circuit itself – was announced at the circuit on Tuesday morning.
The Dutch Grand Prix last featured on the calendar in 1985, with three-time world champion Niki Lauda taking victory for the McLaren F1 Team – it was the Austrian’s final F1 victory before his second and final retirement.
Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen has proved to be the main attraction in F1 for Dutch fans in recent years, with the 21-year-old having to use the Belgian Grand Prix as a de facto home event since his debut in 2015.
Verstappen has featured at annual demonstrations at the circuit, an event that draws in over 100,000 fans, and holds the outright track record in a 2012-spec Red Bull RB8.
Liberty Media CEO Chase Carey welcomed Zandvoort back to F1, explaining that, while the sport is keen to expand its global reach, the historic circuits must not be discarded from the calendar.
“We are particularly pleased to announce that Formula 1 is returning to race in the Netherlands, at the Zandvoort track,” Carey said.
“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.
“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.
“We’ve seen a resurgence of interest in Formula 1 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.”
It is understood that the Spanish Grand Prix will make way for the Dutch race, despite the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya looking to extend is contract – even if it means a change from its traditional place on the schedule.
With fears that the track may be outdated and potentially inaccessible for modern F1 standards, even with the DTM and now-defunct FIA Formula 3 European Championship partaking in race weekends there, former F1 driver Jan Lammers eased any doubts over the circuit’s capabilities.
Lammers, who is also the Sporting Director of the Dutch Grand Prix, said that the infrastructure will be brought up to date and that the timeframe will be complete “well ahead” of the race.
“The Zandvoort Circuit is legendary and known worldwide and we’re delighted to see it host a round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship once again,” Lammers said.
“To meet the wishes of Formula 1 and the required standards of the FIA the circuit and infrastructure will be modernised 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.”