Zandvoort examining possible F1 return

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Could Max Verstappen have a home race in the Netherlands soon? Former F1 host Zandvoort is looking into bringing the circuit back.

F1 Fanatic at this week’s pre-season test

The first storylines of the new season are beginning to develop. Have Ferrari really closed the gap to Mercedes? What do Red Bull have up their sleeves for the RB13? Just how had are things for McLaren and Honda? How will Lance Stroll respond after two accidents in as many days last week?

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Comment of the day

2010: A season to remember (from round two)
If Pirelli’s new tyres takes us back to 2010, @Osvaldas31 is all in favour:

2010 was one of the best years I remember (I’ve watched F1 since 1999) though I remember the first race of that season – the Bahrain Grand Prix – being total bore-fest. Everybody back then went to knee-jerk conclusions, that ban on refuelling and durable tyres made F1 so much boring. But we had really amazing races and five-way fight for the drivers’ title.

Drivers will be able to push now. That means, they will take more risks, therefore will be more susceptible to making mistakes and crashing the car. Also, they will not fear anymore of following another car and trying endless times to overtake it. Trying to overtake will be much more entertaining to watch, no more cheese tyres, which just made everything artificial.

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On this day in F1

Formula One has now had the mandatory tyre change rules for ten years. According to Pirelli it could be the only thing which gets drivers into the pits at some races this year.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Zandvoort examining possible F1 return”

  1. Totally agree with @osvaldas31, I’ve been re-watching the 2010 season for fun over the winter. I think there’s a touch of rose-tinted glasses with it already, however @osvaldas31is right in the fact that they could totally push those Bridgestones. Certainly the fact that you had three teams so closely matched also didn’t hurt. We also must not forget that despite being a great season, the invention of the F-Duct, essentially led to DRS. There’s many times where Legard (yes, I know) comments on how it may be dangerous for them to be taking their hands off the wheel to control it.

    1. @sward28, the thing is, at the time there were a sizeable number of people who took the view that Pennyroyal tea has taken further down – that the overall championship battle was relatively exciting because it was not clear who would win, but that a number of the individual races within that season were not that special as it was fairly clear from the start who would win.

      It’s an interesting thing that, although there were a fairly high number of relatively highly rated races at the time, the posters here seemed to slightly prefer more races from 2011, 2012 and 2014 than 2010 (in the sense that, out of the top 100 highest rated races, there were slightly more races from each of those seasons in the top 100 list than from 2010). It feels as if people are retrospectively going back to that season and now hailing it as great – it’s not to say that people didn’t enjoy it at the time, but that they didn’t seem to enjoy it as much at the time as they now say that they did.

      1. completely agree with that – 2010 was a great season but the races themselves were not all that great (turkey probably one of the best). however, a great title battle makes average races seem all the more exciting because of the tension associated with the title battle. brazil 2010 was boring (unusual for interlagos) but i was gripped throughout because of the precarious title positions.

    2. @sward28 The best thing of the 2010 season was the title battle, with 5 drivers being incredibly close. No-one really dominated and the title battle was full of unexpected twists and turns. Unfortunately, 2010 was really a one-off, as demonstrated by later seasons. In the Pirelli era only 2012 had a mildly entertaining title battle, but not nearly as extreme as in 2010. Most races in 2010 weren’t that interesting at all, but we all remember the weird races like Canada, or wet races in Australia and China. 2017 will be 2010 minus the weaker teams but with DRS. I don’t know if that’s a good thing.

    3. The best thing about 2010 was the fact that Vettel had so many car problems throughout the season. Had it not been the case, the title championship would have been as boring as 2011. Red Bull was dominant in 2010 on pace alone.

      1. @spafrancorchamps The thing was that all drivers had their ups and downs. Lewis lost out on lots of points, especially when he had that double-DNF in a row, Alonso had a torrid first half of the season (besides the first race), Webber had a weak ending to the season, and Button had an even worse ending to the season. Going into the next race, you never knew who would be leading the championship come the end of it, with us having 6 different drivers leading the championship at one stage.

  2. Zandvoort has no chance of getting F1 as it’s facilities are nowhere near been where they need to be & thats not even including run-off areas & barriers.

    To get it ready for F1 it would need new pit/paddock facilities, Run-off would need to be extended in the faster areas & it would need a complete overhaul of the local road/parking infrastructure as i’ve seen that place have issues in that area even with some of the smaller categories that race there.

    The track layout is fine although i’m not sure the races would be that good really but it needs a LOT of work to get F1 back.

    1. It may not even be that. Zandvoort is too close to Spa, and considering Liberty will be focusing on market expansion, having 2 Grand Prixs so close to each other amongst many others will probably not happen. The Hungarian GP effectively replaced the Dutch GP in 1986- market expansion being one of the reasons.

    2. I think they will rebuild those facilities as the article says they are starting an investigation if the return of F1 is possible.

    3. It’s exactly what an investigation is about, having a look around, assess the work which need to be done, evaluate costs, evaluate potential revenue…

      Let’s say that even if the prospect is great or it won’t be for next year.

    4. @gt-racer i agree they would Butcher It. But Why? Surely if azerbaijan Is safe, then zandvoort Is?

    5. I agree. I like Zandvoort but F1 has outgrown it in my opinion.

  3. I absolutely love Zandvoort, it’s one of my favourites in sim racing. It’s fast, bumpy, very tricky, and very punishing. And that middle sector is about as good as a race track can be, and seeing a modern F1 car tackle Scheivlak would be something to behold. But just looking at that image above, I can’t see how they could possibly be given permission to hold an F1 race with so little runoff. Getting the track up to standards would no doubt involve butchering it beyond all recognition (I’m thinking similar to Mexico). But I suppose it would be a good thing to have F1 go to a track which could promise big crowds, even though the thought of what they’d have to do to Zandvoort breaks my heart…

    1. I can tell the same about Zandvoort, it’s an incredible track. But if to get this track back to F1 means that the track will need to be “butchered” (sanitized like Hermanos Rodrigues), no thanks. They can build a Tilkedrome in another place if they want, but please, don’t touch on this track layout.

  4. Well Melbourne, Suzuka and Monaco don’t have much runoff.
    Zandvoort doesn’t look so bad from that aerial photo. Actually looks like there is decent concrete runoff, wouldn’t need much more I suspect for F1.

    1. That “concrete runoff” you’re seeing is actually gravel (or sand possibly). You’re right about those tracks but the key is having the right amount of runoff for the speed and type of the corner. Monaco is very slow compared to all other tracks, so it’s completely different to Zandvoort. Melbourne has ample runoff in its high speed corners and ample straight on runoff from tighter corners. Suzuka, again, doesn’t have a lot of runoff but has plenty where it counts. Zandvoort’s problem is that it has multiple high speed corners that don’t have enough run off for an F1 car with way more power and downforce than anything that currently races there. Scheivlak and Arie Luyendijkbocht would be the biggest problems, as well as the hairpin at the end of the main straight and the high speed esses heading towards Schleivlak.

    2. @Mick As a Dutchman and having been at Zandvoort most recently last year I have to say it needs an awfull lot to be suitable for F1.

      The track itself has a good layout but is very narrow and has no real overtaking spots other than the Tarzanbocht (T1 on the right of the picture). The F3 Masters and DTM are snoozefests because of this, let alone F1. In addition the town’s infrastructure isn’t up for this to say the least.

      A complete revamp of the track including, new asfalt, new cerbs and runoffs, widening of the track and creating a proper second overtaking spot (probably the snake section on the bottom left of the picture and/or after the straight that follows it) is nescesarry as well as altering the turn 2 and 3 in a left hander directly after the Tarzanbocht to create room for the paddock.

      Then there is the stands and other crowd facilities that are excatly as they were in the 60’s (I kid you not…). The town Zandvort itself hasn’t been renewed since the 60’s either and only has 1 trainstation with 2 tiny platforms… At Verstappen’s event last year the entire town was 1 big trafficjam for 3 days, let alone having a GP.

      1. Totally agree. I am Dutch as well, but the idea of f1 at Zandvoort is just riduculous. The investigation itself is already a waste of money.

  5. Can’t agree with cotd. 2010 was a great championship bad racing, only Vettel’s reliability made the season competitive.

  6. I am more curious to know how will Williams respond after the last week accidents. Will they try again the lineup Massa/Stroll/Massa/Stroll or a more safe Massa/Massa/Stroll/Stroll combination?

  7. I hope F1 doesn’t come back to Zandvoort. I fear the layout will be Tillke’d, ruining it for track days much enjoyed by people living in the area.

    1. @hanswes It’s already been ‘Tillke’d’ as I believe he had a part in the 1999 redesign that created the current layout.

      1. RogerA, do you have a source for that claim? I’ve not seen anything to link Tilke with the circuit and I thought that the current layout was attributed to HPG (a company owned by John Hugenholtz Jr, who is the son of one of the former directors of the circuit).

  8. I love Zandvoort, it’s one of my favourite tracks to drive in race sims, but I don’t think it’s the right place for F1 to return to. The current layout does not provide an adequate pit lane and paddock area behind for F1, the run off is nowhere near enough in many areas, and it would likely not promote good racing due to the layout. It’s fine, fantastic even, for touring cars and slower open wheel formulae, but F1 wouldn’t be right. If F1 did return, most likely either the current track would be ruined, or the alternative layout built for modern F1 would lack the old circuit’s character. I hope I’m wrong but having seen how other tracks have been Tilke-fied, I suspect I might not be.

    That all being said, I’d like to be proven wrong. The Netherlands would make a great host country for a Grand Prix with a fantastic atmosphere, especially since Max Verstappen brought F1 back to the front pages in the country. If Zandvoort can be upgraded in a fashion that combines the character of the existing circuit with a suitable layout and safety features for modern F1, then I’ll be very pleased to see it on the calendar.

    1. Apart from the outdated facilities and layout, Zandvoort is a logistical nightmare. The Dutch gouvernment would have to invest massively to even think of hosting a GP there.

      Perhaps they could look at Assen as a (more logical) alternative or just have Tilke design one of his ‘beauties’ somewhere in the Dutch countryside.

    2. @vmaxmuffin Totally agree. Let some circuits remain club-circuits. The fact that tracks like Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park and Oulton Park (just pick a few) are so loved is actually because they are not suited for Formule 1. Zandvoort fits well into this category. The track will lose its soul when it will be made suitable for Formula 1, not to mention the costs involved.

      1. @matthijs true, but a modern F1 car at thruxton would be worth a look.

        1. @frood19 i admit i have to judge based on my dope Toca2 Touring Cars skillz but wouldn’t f1 just be falt out all round Throuxton? not that i’m complaining

  9. If Jean Todt could stop pressuring Rosberg into taking a job for FIA as an advocate for road safety that would be great. The guy is an ambassador for Mercedes, we will surely do plenty of F1 promotion, doesn’t need to go work for FIA to “give back” to the sport. Neither does he need to, he is involved in it since the moment he was born, isn’t that enough?

    Just live the guy alone, he knows what he is doing.

  10. Re “Unfortunately, some Fridays early in the season will be used as test sessions for what we should have done here.”
    It would have been nice to have had some comments from the Honda side, but there weren’t, so the report was rather one sided. However Honda did have something to say a few days ago, which wasn’t encouraging. I don’t like to say it, but one can’t help but wonder how thorough Honda’s laboratory testing was on this engine. For a manufacturer who has such a good pedigree in racing, one wonders if there are some lessons learnt on the motor cycle track that aren’t being carried over to the F1 track.
    Unfortunately I can see Honda is going to have to put in a lot more effort or McLaren’s lawyers are going to be studying their contract to see what the terms are for getting another engine supplier.

  11. 2010 was an all-time low for me, I’ve never hated anything more than those overly durable tyres that meant that half the field only waited for a safety car to make a silly mandatory pit stop, leading to the most randomly ordered boredom later in the race.
    I quited liked the tyre strategies in 2016, they were the best I remember seeing in over 20 years. The fact that this will be completely undone is a major setback for my hopes for 2017.

    1. +1.

      I agree the new rules are a bit of a setback after the successful 2016 tire rules. Let’s now hope they’ll at least drop the mandatory stop soon.

    2. The rules are the same, the difference is the tyres.

      Last year was interesting tactical wise, but didn’t translate to the track, unless someones finds overtaking interesting when the drivers have completely different deltas that they have to obey in order to make the strategy work. Yes it was fun trying to figure out what people would do, but not really exciting. And undercuts aren’t really my thing.

      The mandatory stop has to be erased. And I still think that allowing the drivers only 1 set of tyres for qualy and making them start in that same set would be a great solution to the lack of tactical influence that may result from these new durable tyres.

    3. If you drop the mandatory pitstops, you will see none of the teams changing tires the entire race. I fear 2017 will be like 2009, everyone going for the pits in the last few laps for the mandatory harder compound.

  12. With Bernie’s departure did it mean that Tilke no longer has the monopoly on track works?

    1. Oh God…I hope so!

  13. Tyres are one thing, but drivers will not be able to push like they did back then, when the cars only have a handful of drivetrain components for 20 races.

    1. ExcitedAbout17
      6th March 2017, 9:01

      That is not necessarily true, @dennis.
      The drivetrain limits do define design durability tolerances and engine settings, but do not (or hardly) require a driver to manage equipment and/or coast the car. ‘Pushing’ a car is something different than choosing quali PU mode, it’s more the lines you take and how aggressively you attack a corner.
      The tyres however DID require such driver behaviour, as fuel limits can/could.

  14. Once again, Mclaren are hiding behind Honda’s issues. It’s a bit rich for Boullier to say that Mclaren have hit all their targets from a chassis perspective, when more than one observer, track side has mentioned the car looks out of sorts through the fast corners.

    There doesn’t seem to be someone at Mclaren taking overall responsibility, Eric Boullier’s once endeared laid back approach doesn’t seem to be working. They should buy a copy of Total Competition. As a person in management of technical aspects of systems, I found it absolutely spot on and very usefull…perhaps Mclaren should buy a copy.

    1. @jaymenon10 I was thinking something similar the other day. They wanted to have a close partnership with the engine manufacturer, and that is what they got with Honda. They managed to create a team effort between the two companies, yet they play the blame game, there is no “we”. The team is called McLaren-Honda, not McLaren/Honda.

      It is a fact that if the problem is the PU, Honda is responsible for it, but as a team they should take it on the chin and try to move on, if possible help each other. If they win I wonder how their speech would be…

  15. Thanks for COTD @keithcollantine :) I comment rarely, but it’s not the first time get COTD. Also wanted to add, that you’re doing superb job, reading your site for about 10 years now.

  16. I actually remember 2010 being quite a boring season, race-wise.

    It depends what you want out of F1 – a good championship battle, or good races (or both, of course).

    2010 showed me that people overall seemed to value a close championship battle more than good races, which is fair enough. But I seem to remember the quality of races being pretty poor, with tons of one stop, predictable races.

    1. I agree with that @ecwdanselby, the racing was far from great that year. The tyres lasting for the whole race, with cars stopping whenever there was a SC or going to the last lap (regardless of being on the harder or softer compound) was nothing exciting.

  17. Re. Zandvoort

    Wasn’t the problem always the infrastructure? I heard for even lower formulae that there would be horrendous traffic for the meetings. Doesn’t sound like there’s any way they could cope with F1 again, especially with the hoards of fans coming to see their hometown hero!

    What happened to the new F1 track they were building (Race Park Almere)? Looked really good!

    1. @ecwdanselby Yes, Zandvoort town is a logistical nightmare on eventdays and it would probably take hundreds of millions to get it up to a proper standard.

      Add to that another several hundreds of millions to get the track and trackside facilities there too and then add another €50m or more annually to take care of the hosting fees, promotion cost and temporary trackside facilities etc.

      If the Dutch government does this while it’s cutting cost left right and center it would cause an outrage I pressume (same goes for altering the TT circuit in Assen or building a new one in Almere if I’m honest, it’s just not worth the investments imho)

  18. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th March 2017, 11:52

    I’d just gotten up when I read this and I was wondering that it’s a bit too late for another driver to join F1 :-) Especially a driver I’d never heard of. It took me a bit of time to realize who Zandvoort is and why I’d never heard of him!

  19. Zandvoort is a great idea… Like Imola same problems same reasons why it should be on the calendar.

    With MaxV being a major factor in spectator appeal.

  20. I don’t see any point in spending many, many millions of mostly tax players money on Zandvoort for f1, while one of the best tracks in the world is right next door in belgium.

    1. Spa is Belgium and Zandvoort is the Netherlands so your point is in their view no problem. Spa is one of the best circuit watch youtune F1 1955 Spa but this was also the same for Zandvoort.

  21. I notice that Bahrain is in the news again, and not in a good way –

    This is an ominous development (on top of a longstanding apartheid-style regime), and one which ought to give the FIA, the teams, and Liberty Media pause for thought. Given the political reality there, who could in good faith go there for money?

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