Max Verstappen Expects ‘Iconic’ Zandvoort To Be Challenging

by Aaron Gillard
Verstappen - Zandvoort - 2016

Formula 1’s Dutch star Max Verstappen says he expects the Zandvoort circuit, the host for the 2020 Dutch Grand Prix, to be a challenge for the drivers but very cool to race on due to its old school features.

F1 has confirmed the return of the Dutch Grand Prix for the 2020 Formula 1 Season, 35 years after the last Grand Prix hosted there in 1985. The Grand Prix is set to run at least three years and will have Heineken as a title sponsor.

The 2.6 mile Zandvoort circuit is situateed a few kilometres away from Amsterdam and the track based near a popular beach resort. Since the Grand Prix left the circuit, it has hosted series such as FIA European Formula 3 and DTM.

Since the arrival of Verstappen into F1 in 2015, the popularity of F1 within the Dutch region has rapidly grown. Prior to Dutch Grand Prix announcement, Verstappen often attended Zandvoort to conduct demonstration events with Red Bull.

Verstappen currently holds the unofficial lap record around Zandvoort, performing a 1:19.511 in the Red Bull RB8. The twenty-one has previously raced around the Dutch circuit in F3 and is pleased to see the historical circuit return to the sport.

“It’s just an iconic, historic track,” said Verstappen. “I have raced there before with F3 and it was a lot of fun.

“I compare the track a little bit with Suzuka because it’s designed by the same person so I can understand that the characteristics are a bit similar. It’s a pretty quick track and it’s always good and exciting to have new ones on the calendar.

“I’ve done a few laps and donuts in an F1 car there too and the track was actually pretty challenging because you have a few banked corners, some places are very narrow and there’s no runoff. It’s very cool, and with no runoff, it’s quite hard to find the limit. On some other tracks, it’s a bit easier but that also makes it more exciting.”

The circuit and facilities will undergo modifications and rebuilds with the help from the Zandvoort town council and several partners to meet with the standards laid out by the FIA in order to host a Formula 1 race.

The 2020 Dutch Grand Prix is expected to take place around May, prior to the Monaco Grand Prix. The Grand Prix is set to be a potential replacement for the Spanish Grand Prix, whose contract is set to expire in 2019.

Zandvoort will be the second race introduced to F1 in 2020, with the Vietnam Grand Prix in Hanoi to take place in April, a month before Dutch Grand Prix. It is unclear what races the two will replace, with Liberty Media expecting to draft a 22-race calendar.

Before the beginning of the 2019 season, Red Bull visited Biddinghuizen, Netherlands and Verstappen’s team-mate Pierre Gasly is excited to take on the circuit with its infamous banking, corners and super narrow tracks.

“It’s cool to have a new track in the calendar” Gasly commented. “I’ve been to Zandvoort before in Formula Renault and it’s a really cool and challenging track with the banking.

“Just the fact that it’s super narrow makes it quite exciting so I like it. I haven’t been there often but I’m excited to go back and Turn 6, the really fast right hander, must be pretty amazing in an F1 car with the downforce.

“I think, like everything in life, when you have something new you’re always excited to discover what it’s like. Zandvoort is an iconic track so let’s see how it goes. It will be a busy season but I’m happy.”

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