NETHERLANDS: Zandvoort underwent significant changes and investments to get back to F1 standards before hosting its first Dutch GP last year; its return was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
An underlying three-year bargain was initially endorsed in 2020, with the postponement pushing its expiration until after the 2023 race. Yet, the organisers and F1 held negotiations about extending the Dutch GP at Zandvoort in the upcoming F1 seasons.
Early on Thursday, F1 announced that it had agreed with Zandvoort to stay on the calendar for the next three years, until the end of 2025.
Zandvoort hosted the Dutch GP, its first F1 world championship round in 1952, and remained a fixture until 1985, when F1 dropped it from its calendar.
After Max Verstappen’s debut in 2015 and his subsequent race-winning exploits in Formula 1, efforts to restore the track to F1 standards intensified.
Zandvoort has received praise from the entire F1 paddock for the way it holds the Dutch GP. It ensures an enhanced fan experience through numerous off-track events and is easy to access for those attending the race.
Frederic Vasseur, the chief executive officer of Alfa Romeo F1, stated in May that he believed Zandvoort marked a “big change” for Formula One, focusing on “not just the show, but everything else around the Grand Prix.”
This year’s race saw a sell-out crowd of 100,000 people as Max Verstappen won at home. Max was the victor in the previous year’s race after a close battle with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton.
This year, however, the race organisers were compelled to expel several fans from the circuit. Despite being prohibited from the track, the fans used flares, causing security risks for the drivers on the track.
A fan threw a flare onto the track during Q1 before another fan threw a second flare during Q3 before rolling under the pit wall, necessitating a red flag.
Verstappen criticised the “silly” and “stupid” use of flares, and Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff expressed disappointment that a few “total idiots” had ruined the otherwise electric atmosphere.