How Zandvoort will change to host its first F1 race for 35 years

2020 F1 season

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The Zandvoort circuit will undergo a series of changes ahead of its return to the world championship as part of the 2020 F1 calendar.

The circuit last held an F1 race in 1985. Its layout has changed significantly since then, but further alterations will be needed to ‘modernise’ it for F1, according to the race promoters.

Dutch Grand Prix sporting director and ex-F1 driver Jan Lammers described how the track’s configuration will be altered for next year’s Dutch Grand Prix.

“The start/finish line will be brought forward a little bit towards Tarzan to ensure that the grid is clearly visible from the main grandstand,” said Lammers.

“The exit of Gerlachtbocht will be widened for safety reasons, and the Hugenholtzbocht will be widened on the inside to allow more space and allow higher speeds going towards Scheivlak.

Hugenholtz corner, Zandvoort, 2018
Hugenholtz corner, Zandvoort, 2018

“Then we get to the Hans ErnstBocht, of which the second part will be shortened and widened to improve flow through the corner and reduce its stop-start character and increase speeds.

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Hans Ernst corner, Zandvoort, 2018
Hans Ernst corner, Zandvoort, 2018

“The Arie Luyendijkbocht, formerly known as Bosuit, that will be modified and slightly banked to permit full-throttle through there. This will make it similar to the final part of Brazil, where you can through with open DRS. It won’t be easy, but possible, I think.”

Arie Luyendijk corner, Zandvoort, 2018
Arie Luyendijk corner, Zandvoort, 2018

Lammers did not mention whether any changes will be made to the run-off areas. Zandvoort’s are almost entirely gravel, whereas most permanent F1 venues now have asphalt run-offs.

Aside from the circuit layout, other changes will be made to the track including a new paddock and other infrastructure. Lammers said he wouldn’t have thought it would be possible F1 could return to the circuit after its last race 35 years ago.

“If you’d ask me a year ago I would have said its almost impossible, I’m a Zandvoorter, if I imagine that 40 yrs ago I drove a F1 car here for the first time, then I am highly appreciative of what [Prince] Bernard and his partners have done here to get F1 back to the circuit.

“It’s a unique circuit, lying in the dunes and following the natural contours of the dunes. As a driver it is one the ultimate tests, if you take Scheivlak, it’s our own Eau Rouge, if you will. I think the driver who takes pole position will step out of his car full of euphoria, having just experienced the ultimate race experience.”

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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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38 comments on “How Zandvoort will change to host its first F1 race for 35 years”

  1. Fingers crossed no chicanes!

  2. It’s ‘Scheivlak’, not ‘Sheivlak’ and it’s ‘Gerlach’ rather than ‘Gerlacht’.

    1. @matthijs you say Scheivlak, I say Sheivlak! Scheivlak-Sheivlak Scheivlak-Sheivlak let’s call the whole thing off…
      I don’t know if Dutch is harder to read, to speak or even hear :D!

      (just joking, don’t want to be disrespectful)

      1. @m-bagattini I don’t feel offended! But let’s not talk about Italian ;)

        1. @matthijs Absolutely agree! We even have an institute that clarifies what’s “right” in case of controversies, go figure.

    2. You say ‘Gerlach’, F1 says turn 2.

      1. Personally, I would prefer everyone just refers to the turns by numbers. I still have no idea what corners the British talk about for Silverstone and I have raced it many times on video games. hehe The names are just confusing and a bit snobbish if you ask me. Regards from Canada – looking forward to the first Dutch GP/F1 in quite a while.

        1. Modern drivers and statisticians have trouble in remembering words of more than one syllable, so they have to resort to numbers. If there are more than 10 corners, off come the shoes and socks…! Heaven help them if they try to learn the Nordschleife..!
          Corner names are certainly not snobbish… If they need a label, they are ‘traditional’…
          ..but please, do continue to enjoy your games..

    3. There won’t be…

  3. Surprised they wouldn’t be trying to create some runoff space on the outside of Hugenholtz – any kind of contact there and you’re basically guaranteed a safety car at the moment.

    1. So you’re saying it’s bad that the circuit won’t be too sanitised?

    2. Not sure where one would put that runoff though @mazdachris.

      You would have to shorten the corner, since on the outside there is the entrance to the pitlane & road to the pitbuilding/hospitality and right behind that the main straight.

      1. If you ask me (and nobody asks me, which is probably a good thing LOL) I would completely bypass Hugenholtz – turn Gerlacht into an uphil sweeping left hander that feeds into the not-so-straight before Scheivlak. This solves the problem of no runoff at Hugenholtz nd creates ample room for the new paddock. It would also make the run from Tarzan to Scheivlak mighty fast.

        The lap distance would drop ~300 m which means it would still be ~4 km long. However, it might cause the track to be too fast, which would mean low laptimes / short-ish race.

  4. If the last corner will be full throttle with open DRS, than overtaking into the first corner is not going to be a big problem. Maybe even better if the short straight after the Hans Ernst Corner will be DRS as well.

    1. If it’s banked, and I do mean banked so that the final two corners are both flat (which they’re currently not), that could be a great follow-and-overtake spot, like the old Catalunya final corner before it was butchered

      1. It will have a 32 degree banking.

  5. looks like Bernd Maylander will have his hands full on race day.

  6. None of these changes are going to do anything to improve the racing at this circuit. It’s gonna be fun for the drivers and for the spectators at the track, but for the TV viewers, oh dear… It might even rival the boredom levels of the Circuit de Catalunya it replaces

    1. Why is that, care to explain?

  7. Yay, new track for processional race!

    In a freezing temperatures, away from proper sunny Barcelona…

    What a nonsense!

    1. You forget the rain..

      1. It doesn’t always rain here! Sometimes we have fog.

    2. Well, it’s a definite nod to us herb friendly. Thanks! There are plenty of sunny races with beaches and no herb legally available or even in dictatorships without even alcohol.

      1. They could hand out blunts on the podium… Deffo spice up the interviews!!!!

    3. F1oSaurus (@)
      14th May 2019, 18:11

      @dallein There is an echo in your keyboard …

  8. That sounds very good, I was expecting a lot worse. It really sounds like that track won’t be butchered at all. Banking the last corner is smart, if it is flat-out then the difficulty of overtaking might be in the Hungaroring category or better. It will never be an overtake fest, but I am really looking forward to that one.

  9. “I think the driver who takes pole position will step out of his car full of euphoria, having just experienced the ultimate race experience.”

    And that pretty much says it all. You take pole, race win is almost guaranteed.

  10. Now FIA just needs to find a loophole to make Verstappen champion regardless who gets more points at the end of a season

    1. Nah, he’s a Future Champion to his fans, which appears to be equivalent to a real champion.

    2. Double Dutch race? Double points if you are Dutch?

  11. No real idea what this circuit is like and difficult to tell without a virtual drive round. But can’t they widen the track at a few points to allow more overtaking chances? It’s overall speed sounds promising. Those images, though. Maybe they should double-down on the 1970s retro vibe.

    1. The Straight will be widened and some corners moved and widened. Pit exit is going to change too but that i don’t see here yet.

      1. OK, thanks. The idea of a fast, flowing circuit like Silverstone and Suzuka sounds great if they can make overtaking possible. Without chicanes.

  12. Stephen Higgins
    14th May 2019, 18:38

    Well, lets hope that they don’t ‘bocht’ it …

  13. Already, like half the drivers noted that it won’t be possible to overtake…
    Another bore-fest in the making.

    They should have went with Assen. At least with that not everyone’s sure it’d suck. :)

  14. That sounds like something Jeremy Clarkson might come up with

  15. They can make as many changes as they want, but if they don’t extend the main straight and re-profile the first corner then it will all be for nothing.

  16. What they do to the track is not very important. If there’s not much passing (likely) we can just call it Max’s Monaco and be done with it. What MATTERS is how they are going to deal with the spectators. I was there with my son in August last year for the classic races, and we were able to walk all the way around the course, just digging a seat in the dunes as desired. The only area that was excluded was the main grandstand, which is a fine place to watch cars going fast in a straight line. So the first question would seem to be, are they going to allow that for F1? The answer is, probably no — and you probably wouldn’t want them to, anyway. The dunes would quickly fill up and you’d be trying to catch a glimpse of the track over/through a crowd 20 or 30 layers deep. What they probably will do is install grandstands in the dunes and sell assigned seating. That destroys the classic Zandvoort experience but it’s the only workable way, and it could be fine for the spectators as long as they also install big screens in the right places. Now . . . traffic on the way to the track? Don’t get me started.

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