Senna, Mansel, Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton – all have inspired great national pride and seen their home Grand Prix become a focal point for their enthusiastic fans. But perhaps no driver has inspired such a devoted following that’s seen grandstands all over Europe become a sea of orange. Max Verstappen re-ignited passion for Formula 1 in the Netherlands and it was just a matter of time before the Dutch Grand Prix would be back.
Zandvoort is a historic F1 circuit following Paul Ricard out of retirement for a nostalgic renaissance. The original track was a regular on the F1 calendar from 1952 to 1985, famous for good racing, infamous for tragedy. The new, contracted circuit has lost some of the fast sweeping curves that made the original so well liked but retains the undulating nature among the sand dunes of the North Sea coast.
Overtaking is expected to be a challenge and high field spread is likely, though transforming the final corner into a banked curve that can be taken at higher speed may encourage overtaking into turn 1.
Concerns over a lack of close racing are equaled by worries of whether the organisers can be ready in time. The experience is going to be something of an adventure for fans who bought tickets, mostly for grandstands that weren’t even built at the time to see corners, some of which were also still on the drawing board. Organisers have their work cut out to transform this dormant F1 venue into a circuit that looks the part in the modern era.
There’s no doubting the 2020 Dutch Grand Prix will be well attended though. 100,000 tickets were snapped up immediately by 1 million fans who applied and if Max goes well at home the scenes in the grandstands and beneath the podium will echo those of Monza in 2019 – only orange.
Although it’s a popular seaside destination in the summer months the early May slot will likely see some chilly days in the grandstands. The exposed position on the North Sea coast can also be subject to a strong breeze.