Zandvoort, 2018

Zandvoort will be fantastic even if there’s no overtaking


Posted on

| Written by

One of Formula 1’s classic venues is returning to the calendar, at a time when the popularity of the sport is booming thanks to the exploits of a local hero. This is undoubtedly a good news story for F1.

But regrettably, much of the reaction to the return of Zandvoort and the Dutch Grand Prix on the 2020 F1 calendar has been overwhelmingly negative.

Zandvoort’s merits as an F1 venue are obvious: it boasts decades of heritage, signature corners such as Tarzan and Scheivlak, and the expectation of 90,000 Max Verstappen fans creating an atmosphere to rival Monza.

Yet all this counts for naught to some. Since the track’s return was first mooted a single tedious refrain has been heard countless times: “There won’t be any overtaking.”

To which I can only answer this: I don’t care.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always loved a stood-on-the-pedals, last-of-the-late-brakers, where-did-that-come-from lunge for glory, whether it was Mansell, Montoya or Magnussen wielding the wheel.

But as far as Zandvoort is concerned I have no time for the handkerchief-clutchers whimpering “won’t somebody please think of the show”.

I have thought about the show. And what I think of it is as follows: First, I am utterly sick of the phrase ‘improving the show’. Yes, it could be better. Plans have been made to do that. Yet I can’t help but think the quickest way to make it better would be to stop complaining about it so much.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Second, Formula 1 is not supposed to be the world championship of overtaking. Passes are but one aspect of its appeal.

There is technology. Strategy. Teamwork. And there is watching the world’s greatest drivers trying to be quickest around a circuit which genuinely challenges their skills, in the way that a tour bus route around some ‘destination city’ does not.

Callum Ilott, Zandvoort, Formula Three, 2015
This is Tarzan. It’s brilliant. Leave it alone
Never mind the fact some of Zandvoort’s greatest F1 races were gripping precisely because a pass didn’t happen: Whether it was James Hunt’s Hesketh rebuffing the might of Niki Lauda’s Ferrari in 1975, or Lauda doing the same to McLaren team mate Alain Prost for his final victory at the track’s last F1 race a decade later.

Of course F1 should have some tracks which are designed to encourage overtaking. But that generally means long straights leading into slow corners. That is not what great driving challenges are made of.

The calendar needs a mix of tracks, instead of gradually fashioning 21 circuits which have ‘a bit of everything’ and all end up looking like each other. Hanoi, the other now addition to the 2020 F1 calendar, has been designed with overtaking in mind. This is not a bad thing. But let’s also have some tracks where the driving challenge comes first.

It was telling that when Formula 1 returned to the Red Bull Ring in 2014, Jenson Button remarked that it was nice to drive on a circuit which wasn’t mostly slow corners for once. This makes an obvious point about the lack of variety on the F1 calendar.

So I cheer the return of Zandvoort. I hope the alterations which inevitably will be made are done only for essential reasons of safety, and retain as much of the track’s narrow, twisting, undulating character as possible.

If that means one race where not even DRS, that joyless push-button facsimile of real racing, can create any changes of position, I won’t be complaining.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


Browse all comment articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

115 comments on “Zandvoort will be fantastic even if there’s no overtaking”

  1. Couldn’t agree more; actually being trackside I imagine will be mightly impressive with the current downforce levels, it’ll basically be winding through corner into corner into corner.

    A very welcome change.

    1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      17th May 2019, 12:21

      I half agree.
      I’m excited about the return to Zandvoort and the challenge it presents. Regarding the issue around “improving the show” its an unfortunate phrase but I’m all for more closely matched aero neutral cars. Then overtaking would be much less of an issue on any track. Looking forward to it.

    2. I disagree. Although I understand the “Driving Challenge” aspect, there is always Rallying if you want to watch that…

      F1 is a race and a race can not be a race unless there is overtaking, otherwise it is simply a flying lap contest followed by a 60 lap victory parade… If it is about the best drivers then there is nothing good about watching an amazing driver just following other cars around the track when something went wrong during qualy…

      I am glad Zandvoort is back on the calendar but it would be nice if it had some small changes to allow more overtaking.

      1. Indeed, a ‘race’ with no overtaking is not a race, it’s a CONVOY!

        Racing is about getting past or staying ahead, if the track makes overtakingnear impossible, e.g. Monaco, then it hands the win to the fastest qualifier and they may as well give them 25 points and send them home a day early. I exaggerate but one has to accept that overtaking is a fundamental part of a F1 race and it is hard enough on many tracks, no need to make it impossible

      2. If overtaking was important part of racing, then why all top tier series grid by qualifying times?

        Rally, lol.. it’s cruising on country roads. Rally drivers never push their vehicles to the absolute limit of performance. It’s really odd form of motorsport really.

  2. This is the absurdity of F1. A racing series where it’s protagonists accept at some circuits the will be NO OVERTAKING…… …………… a RACING series!

    It’s almost Trumpian.

    In years to come when F1 evolves and sorts itself out, we will laugh at opinions such as these in the same way we did with ‘smoking on planes’, or ‘fining people for sodomy’.

    Racing with no Racing.

    1. Quite a bit of drama.

      Barring Monaco, I don’t think the tracks are to blame for the lack of overtaking. Tyres and aerodynamics are. So the point is leave Zandvoort alone, as it is an excellent track.

      we will laugh at opinions such as these in the same way we did with ‘smoking on planes’, or ‘fining people for sodomy’.


    2. That’s a level of comment that would be laughed at, years to come…

    3. It’s more absurd that overtaking is often the only thing looked at now & where every circuit is designed with that in mind with many other circuits ruined in the name of it.

      Overtaking never used to be a consideration, It never used to be that important & contrary to what many believe there never used to be that much overtaking in the past & nobody ever complained about it because that wasn’t why people were watching.
      I remember standing trackside in the 70’s & not seeing a single overtake all day outside of the first lap with the field just as strung out as they are today & neither me nor anyone else around me went away bemoaning how little action there had been because close racing, overtaking & pretty much everything else the modern fans cry for constantly wasn’t why people watched.

      Motor Racing wasn’t created around overtaking, It wasn’t created around close racing or unpredictability. It’s purpose was to push technology & to provide a challenge for the cars and drivers. Most old circuits are as fast as they are and as narrow as they are because overtaking wasn’t a consideration in there design because that wasn’t why people were watching, They were watching to see the drivers and cars challenged.

      You weren’t standing amongst the sand dunes around the back of the Zandvoort circuit expecting to see close action or overtaking, You were standing there to see the drivers pushing there cars through some of the fastest, most demanding & thrilling corners around.

      There was never talk of throwing a slow hairpin, chicane or something on any circuit to create a passing zone & that is what has changed today & why so many modern circuits will never be as great as Zandvoort or any of the other older one’s. Modern circuits are full of slow corners because thats where you get overtaking & since that’s all new/young fans care about we have to put up with slow, dull circuits that are a million feet wide with gimmicks who’s purpose is to create 50+ meaningless passes all day.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        17th May 2019, 13:43

        Motor Racing wasn’t created around overtaking, It wasn’t created around close racing or unpredictability. It’s purpose was to push technology & to provide a challenge for the cars and drivers

        If this is your opinion of what F1 should be then fine, but its not mine. Also it seems F1 itself doesn’t know what it should be. It’s always making changes to find a good balance.

        I like circuits where its hard to overtake and circuits where its easier. F1 should be a driving challenge first and foremost. The circuits don’t need to change the cars do. We can all of the things you like about F1 and overtaking.

        TV money rules so “putting on a show” is important. The problem with TV is you cant really sense the speed or see the technology but close racing you can see.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          17th May 2019, 19:39

          @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk The reality is that the cars at the front are pretty much sorted by order of performance. So how do you even imagine that this “overtaking” is going to take place? Cars are just going to be swapping places over the course of a race at random?

          In Barcelona overtaking is also difficult, but in the midfield there were plenty of overtakes. Heck even in Monaco there are overtakes of cars that are well out of position.

          I’ve seen plenty of overtaking in Zandvoort in F3, DTM and A1. Although granted that was mostly in a mildly damp/wet race. Which is not that uncommon

      2. “You were standing there to see the drivers pushing there cars through some of the fastest, most demanding & thrilling corners around” — but why would they even push if they can’t be overtaken anyway? They won’t – it might wear out their engine which has to last another 6 processions after this one.

      3. José Lopes da Silva
        18th May 2019, 7:48

        The replies of Sean N and Krommenaas mean a thing: unlike football, where everyone is there for the same, the car racing audience is changing widely, and splitting. The audience is more diverse than never. So we won’t get a consensus about what it should be.

    4. Rushfans comment is complete nonsense. Racing most definitely does NOT mean overtaking! we don’t lambast the IOC because there is a lack of overtaking in athletics.

      The whole problem is that someone in the mid 2000’s decided that F1 should be a show rather than a race. Most sport including motor racing is/was for the competitors, not the spectators. The fact that people find sport interesting to watch does not make it a show.

      1. Yes it does. There’s another word for racing without overtaking: procession. Racing means you try to get ahead of the car that’s ahead of yours rather than just follow it to the finish line.

        1. It’s not that overtaking is impossible, it’s just Very hard to do and that’s a good thing now and then.

      2. Im neutral on the whole Zandvoort subject. But you must know that the reason behind ALL sports is to provide entertainment.

        The fact that people find sport interesting to watch does not make it a show.

        It is, and always will be, a show and source of entertainment.

        However, I do dislike the term “Improving the show” lol it should be “Improving the racing” since thats what they mean.

    5. So true, but how long will it take?

      It’s just bizarre how F1 and people generally are up in arms about the lack of overtaking with drastic measures suggested and taken to overcome the problem, yet at the same totally ignoring the main factor in the equation that is tracks, and even actually welcoming the worst ones. I simply will never understand how this is even possible.

    6. Yeah. It’s ridiculous to read something like this.

  3. I agree that overtaking is not everything, but there should be enough of a threat/opportunity of an overtake to make sure drivers take their cars to the limit; and hopefully a few over it.
    I don’t want races like Monaco last year where even a cripled can can lead the pack home.

    PS can’t they make it a night race on 26 April. Amsterdam on the night before their national holiday is just awesome.

    1. *crippled car

    2. @coldfly Yeah but that would not have happened at Zandvoort. It’s not Monaco. A lunge into Tarzan would have been incoming for sure if it happened there

    3. @coldfly It can already get to as low as around 10 degrees at daytime in Zandvoort in the first half of May (when it supposedly is set to take place), so imagine how cold it’d be after sunset, LOL.

    4. Thats a good way of putting it @coldfly

  4. Racing should be about overtaking otherwise they may as well pull in after the lap one action and stick the cars on a test rig to see which is reliable.

    Some of it is blistering in and out laps coupled with pit strategy, some of it is daring wheel to wheel fights, and unfortunately some of it is DRS enabled highway passes.

    We know certain circuits have corner sequences that encourage the battles we all want like Bahrain and Malaysia, why when circuits are modified it’s to throw in slow, narrow chicanes rather than those characteristics I don’t know.

    1. Yeah but if the track is punishing enough, mistakes can happen. in addition, drivers are always on the limit, as there is no room for error.

      As processional races go, I don’t think Baku or China is any better than Monaco or Suzuka. And Suzuka is a good point, when have we seen a good “race” at Suzuka? Apst always it’s damn processional and boring. But the place itself is interesting, it’s difficult, there’s no room for compromises and that makes it sweeter.

      I rather have Zaandvort and Hungary than Paul Ricard or Russia…

  5. Completely agree Keith! Most people always find something to complain about. When Hanoi was announced the ‘straights were too long, and the hairpins too slow’ and now ‘the track is too narrow and overtaking is impossible’. Even though it has clearly been pointed out that the track will change quite a bit, which will improve following, and therefore overtaking. I am very much looking forward to this race-weekend as mistakes will definitely be made, and drivers will be punished for it. Also qualifiying will be insane on this track. Adding to that, especially if the race will be held in may, there is quite a big chance that the weather will play a role since that is really unpredictable in The Netherlands.

    1. yep, no matter what people will find a way to complain, I’m looking forward to watching the race next year.

  6. Thank you Keith, I wanted to convey about the same message but didn’t find the words to that effect. If we are F1 fans enough to watch the whole Monaco race with excitement – and I certainly am – then Zandvoort will be absolutely fantastic.

  7. “And there is watching the world’s greatest drivers trying to be quickest around a circuit which genuinely challenges their skills”

    Yes but it would be nice to watch that on race day and not just on the Saturday.

    Anyway the problem is with the cars, not the circuits. I’m sure Zandvoort can have great F2 races.

    1. @krommenaas

      I’m sure Zandvoort can have great F2 races.

      The races in F3 & DTM say otherwise. Overtaking has always been super difficult at Zandvoort even when F1 was racing on the old circuit in the 60s-80’s.

      It’s because like most of the older circuits it wasn’t designed with overtaking in mind because that’s not what anyone cared about back then. Overtaking been seen as such an important factor with circuits (And cars) been designed around creating overtaking is a new trend.

      Up until maybe 20-25 years ago circuits were designed to challenge the cars and drivers with no real thought put into how possible overtaking would be as that just wasn’t important, It was purely creating a challenge & that is what fans of those times wanted to see.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        17th May 2019, 19:44

        @roger-ayles That has not to do with “caring about” something. Circuits weren’t designed with overtaking in mind simply because that was not needed at the time. It’s only when F1 cars got so ridiculously wide and aero dependent that overtaking became a track design issue.

        It’s only recently with the incredible aero dependencies that so much though is put into changing circuits to make overtaking easier. Which never seems to work anyway.

        Plus back then, just making it to the finish was the biggest challenge.

    2. Even in Formula Ford there are hardly any overtakes.

  8. Since Jan Lammers explained what changes will be made I think overtaking will be difficult but probably better than in Monaco. Hopefully they can keep the sandpits to punish whoever gets it wrong but then I hope it won’t be a 5 or 6 safety car race.

    Someone beaching his car could bet disastrous but it doesn’t have to.

  9. If we are still in the 90s than I would agree. There weren’t more passes in the races then but it was exciting just to see the drivers keeping the cars on the track. The current F1 rules of tyre and engine conservation means drivers are not pushing during the races, probably 90 percent of the time. Like at Spa while it’s still awesome to see the cars cornering at such high speed, it’s not as thrilling as it used to be. And I quote Bernie ‘F1 drivers are crazy.’ I think I know what he meant watching laps of Mansell racing the 92 Williams. That took some guts to drive that thing. Or Schumi driving the Benetton. I don’t remember thinking that in the last few years during the races. Because of that I have serious doubt that it will be thrilling just to watch the drivers cruising around Zanvoort. But I guess we will see. Maybe Quali at least can be exciting.

    1. @kamto

      The current F1 rules of tyre and engine conservation means drivers are not pushing during the races, probably 90 percent of the time.

      Which is exactly the same as in the past.

      In fact there was even more management/conservation going on in the past than there is today with a lot more parts of the car than in the case today.

      1. @Roger Ayles
        When there were Quali engines!? Race engines that only needed to last a race? There might be some fuel and tyre conservation near the end of races. But right now they need to start saving tyres, fuel and engines from lap 3!. (Even the drivers say they aren’t really pushing at all.) I don’t think the idea today is entirely wrong. But at least I think the Peralli tyres are just a bit gimmicky rather than environ friendly. Anyway that is a bit off topic on this thread.

        1. @kamto, the idea of qualifying engines didn’t exist in Formula 1 until the 1980s, when you had the combination of turbocharged engines and tobacco sponsorship started pumping team budgets to the point where an engine could be thought of as an expendable item.

          Even then, it was mainly just the manufacturers who would build those qualifying special turbo engines, as most of the independent engine builders couldn’t afford to build qualifying specials.

          Furthermore, whilst the manufacturers might produce qualifying special engines, we know from their production records that the actual race engines were reused over multiple races – we know that using the same engine for three different races was actually fairly normal during the turbo era, since the caps on fuel usage meant that the engines were less stressed in race conditions.

          The idea of engines that lasted for one race is something that really only came in during the 1990s, and even then fuel management was a chronic issue for most drivers. There are more than a few instances of drivers failing to finish in the early 1990s due to running out of fuel – Senna’s back to back retirements in Germany and Britain in 1991 are two high profile examples – or of drivers having to drastically slow down in the closing laps to stretch out their fuel to make it to the finish line.

          The world which you are thinking of only really came into existence in 1994 when mid-race refuelling was introduced to try and liven things up, and in turn reduced the need for drivers to have to manage their fuel consumption during a race.

          It also has to be said that those “one race engines” were not quite what they seemed, as it was also fairly common for the manufacturers to simply strip down an engine, check it and then rebuild it during that period, rather than junking it. I believe that Cosworth, for example, reckoned that they were recycling about 90% of the components from one engine to another in that era – not that much actually needed to be replaced.

          It may be that, as somebody who started watching F1 just after that sort of attitude became more widespread, it gave you the impression that was how things had always been – but, in reality, Roger is right and fairly heavy management of aspects of the car was considered fairly normal.

          1. I’m really not sure what you are trying to tell me. Yes I started watching F1 in the 90s. I must stress that i don’t look at those days with rose-tinted specs. I enjoy watching the races more than some that complains thay are boring. But the fact that drivers complaints that they can’t has been there for the last few years. Hamilton and Alonso espeially has been very vocal. I understand what you illustrated the brief history of F1 teams’ technical challebge in the early 90s regarding the engines. But still the skill of conserving the parts was less than it is now, no? Maybe we could have Mikaka Hakinen and Lewis compare notes because I would no idea. But my impression from experienced drivers is that they feel like they have to look after the tyres in particular more than ever. To be honest I think they have to turn the engine down as well. I suspect that was what Bottas did after 3 laps in Barcelona.

            I must stress i’m happy enough with F1 it is today. But the feeling is that the drivers are not on the edge as it was 20 years ago. I don’t need F1 to change for me. I can live without F1. That’s all I’m saying.

          2. BTW you started with ‘You think it’s alway been like that’. I don’t understand why you have to put words into my mouth. I wasn’t discussing F1 before the 90s. I stated what the 90s was like to me. And that was why i became a fan. I DON’T CARE WHAT IT WAS LIKE BEFORFE. I’m a fan of Max and Lewis and I like them to race each other and that’s all I’m want to see. Thank you for you effort.

          3. F1oSaurus (@)
            17th May 2019, 19:46

            Budgets are now double or triple that of the time when they had qualifying engines.

            It’s just that back then 80% of that budget would be spent on engines and now it’s probably more like 20% (well it’s more, but it sounds better that way).

          4. @kamto, the point was to reinforce the comments made by Roger Ayles about how the idea of having to conserve the car is not new to the sport, nor is it necessarily more onerous now than it was for much of the past. The point was that, whilst you scream about how you don’t care about what the sport was like before the 1990s, there are also those who do.

            @f1osaurus, it depends on what period of time you are talking about and whether you are adjusting for inflation, because it isn’t necessarily quite as extreme a difference as that. By the end of the 1980s, McLaren’s budget was already at about £50 million then, which is over £110 million ($140 million) today.

            However, there is some ambiguity over what exactly that budget would have included – one notable aspect is that it might not have included driver salaries. We know from the archives of companies like Marlboro that a number of drivers, such as Senna, were being paid by Marlboro instead of McLaren – so, in some senses some costs were effectively being offloaded onto their sponsors rather than appearing on McLaren’s accounts, making the comparison a bit harder.

            As an aside, I think that the percentage of budget eaten up by engine costs then was quite a bit lower in the past, and I would suggest that 20% is probably a bit of a generous estimate now (the figures talked about for engine supply deals point towards it being closer to 15% of the budget for an average midfield team).

  10. The thing i admire is great driving not push button overtaking.

    I agree with Keith.

    The thing is, in Monaco, Singapore, Baku and now Zandvoort, there are overtakes. They happen when drivers that don’t have the skills to keep the cars out of walls or gravel.

    I like watching drivers pushing the limits, almost brushing barriers wringing every last bit of time out of their cars lap after lap. I like it when some young hot shot (the next big thing as touted by the media hype) comes undone on tracks that truly test their skill rather than watching them fire off the track into massive paved run of areas.

    Put simply – I love tracks that offer challenges to drivers so that the cream can show their wares whether there’s overtaking opportunities (real or DRS assisted).

    Zandvoort will be great – so so much better than some of the sterile tracks with massive DRS zones.

    1. @dbradock
      Lol, your passive aggressiveness towards “The next big thing” is quite amusing. Let me guess: Frustrated “fill in everything but MV” fan?
      Really dude, the next big thing has already proven himself to be the class of the field, despite his Monaco antics!

      1. Not just Max. Remember Baku this year?
        Russell, Norris, Vandoorne – all talked up massively.

        Let’s see how they all perform at Monaco where the room for error is marginal.

    2. You’re deluding yourself. Ricciardo won Monaco with half an engine – even then he didn’t have to worry about being overtaken. With a working car, drivers don’t need to drive hard as their position is never under threat anyway. Well maybe during pit stops, that’s it.

      1. And he lost it the year before when absolutely blitzing them.
        Even Senna three on away just before the end of a race.
        That’s the thing about Monaco etc – they’re never over until the finish line because the drivers have to stay absolute in control of their car 100% of the time. Mistakes cost unlike so many tracks these days

      2. If vettel tried he probably would have succeeded. But the chances you loose all points made him decide otherwise

  11. Fantastic article Keith, one of my favorites. I feel this track is one for the fans trackside. It has the history and Max supportors to become one of the top races of the season.

    One thing I hope and pray for is no DRS. I would kill to see 10 laps of driver B bearing down on driver A forcing a mistake.

  12. Couldn’t agree more Keith! And what we all need to remember is that the main thing that precludes great racing at awesome tracks like Zandvoort and Suzuka(Verstappen rigtly drew parallels between them) are not the tracks. It’s the awful aero formula of F1. Highway press the button DRS overtakes are just putting bandage on a life-threatening wound(and in this case it’s not just a metaphor. The F1 dirty aero threatens to destroy F1 itself).

    Zandvoort is a great track and I already want to come and see the race there.

  13. Then what is the point in dropping Barcelona for this circuit?!?!?

    When Zandvoort was rumored and announced everyone shouted how they are tired of processional Barcelona races.
    Now they will have the same processional races in Zandvoort. Ice cold, snowy Zandvoort. All in the name of appeasing Verstappen’s fans.

    Totally ridiculous.

    I don’t say Zandvoort is bad, but I find it enormously stupid and unnecessary to replace Barcelona with it.
    Barcelona is awesome, Zandvoort – just meh.

    1. @dallein It is being reported that circuit de catalunya has financial issues about completing a new deal. They are receiving less money from the government and as you saw last week, the grandstands were far from full. I think F1 wants to keep barcelona on the calander. It’s just the financial issues unfortunately..

    2. @dallein At least 90% of the fans diasgree with you. It’s Barcelona that is awful. It’s consistently ranked as one of the worst tracks by F1 fans. It wasn’t that bad before they ruined the final sector even then it was bad for racing. Now it’s utter and total disaster of a track. I wouldn’t even mind dropping it without any replacement at all. On the other hand Zandvoort is a challenging and awesome track in the Suzuka mould, that whatever the quality of the racing is ten times better than that Montmelo monstrosity!

    3. @dallein, I suspect that, in part, it is a case of people wanting to have a different experience – I wonder whether we will still see the same level of enthusiasm from the posters above or from Keith once the initial novelty of racing at Zandvoort has worn off.

      I do also find that “decades of heritage” is a term that often tends to drop out when inconvenient and is only invoked when convenient. After all, in terms of the length of time that a circuit has been used for, Barcelona has now been used for almost as many races as Zandvoort has – 28 races to 30 for Zandvoort – and, strictly speaking, the Spanish Grand Prix is actually a much older event than the Dutch Grand Prix (the first Spanish Grand Prix was in 1913, and there were intermittent Spanish Grand Prix through the 1920s and 1930s, whereas the Dutch Grand Prix is a post WW2 event).

  14. BlackJackFan
    17th May 2019, 13:18

    Yes… let’s get rid of DRS (rubbish in itself, but also in the way it’s administered – if necessary maybe the IndyCar ‘p2p’ would be better…), and let’s really do something about Formula Aero, once and for all…

    Oh, and yes, by all means, let’s bring back Zandvoort – and not ruin it while allegedly bringing it up to date…!

  15. There are far too many people confusing spectacle – wheel to wheel racing – with quality of sport.

    Ideally, you can have both (and F1 often serves this up) – but I would much rather have the second than the first if I can only have one. Especially if the contest is artificial, like NASCAR or DRS. I’m sure I sound like a broken record, as I’ve said this before. The only thing I’m concerned about is that there is a level playing field and that all teams have a chance to win. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be teams who dominate due to doing a better job, but that each team has no obstacle to them doing a good job (except their ability to do it).

  16. Completely agree – there are plenty of circuits on the calendar that are designed with overtaking in mind that still fail at producing it.

    If Zandvoort is another one of these – well, at least it’s challenging for the drivers.

  17. After the Kuhmo corner(12) starts the Arie Luyendijk corner(13). If a car at the Kuhmo corner is within a sec of the car infront, in my view that last long sweeping corner(Luyendijk) can be added to the straight. Than it’s about 1000m instead of the 700m to try to overtake. Ofcourse it will be hard to overtake but I guess it will not be impossible.

    1. Especially since they are looking to make that final corner banked, which will help with keeping it full-throttle Johnny H..

      I am not sure it will be great, but I do think it’s an interesting track and it might be a nice variation (maybe it helps I am Dutch, even though I live in Berlin). I also hope they solve traffic there by getting a good Public Transport link by busses going.

      In the end, overtaking is hard at many tracks currently, and that’s not (just) due to the tracks, but due to the rules, the amount of preparedness and reliability, and probably also the uneven division of money that keeps some teams well ahead of others (so that if one of those gets it wrong and one right, well, there’s little competition left).

  18. My favourite tracks are the fast-flowing tracks, and least favourite most of the street circuits, so I agree totally with the sentiment. My only question is whether, even so, the track could be widened at a few critical points to make more overtaking a possibility? It wouldn’t mean reshaping the circuit. It just looks narrow most of the way round. Maybe just the photos (I don’t know the track).

      1. @montreal95, @david-br – on bit I really like about that link, which I hadn’t read (or fully understood) before:

        It is hoped that Zandvoort’s short pitlane will encourage teams to make more pit stops than they would usually do. Pit stops at most tracks are over 20 seconds in duration, but Lammers reckons stops will be around six seconds quicker than that, meaning the penalty for stopping will be less compared to the time gained from fresh rubber.

        “The other big change to enhance overtaking will be the pit entry,” Lammers added.

        “That will be made quicker so we will have pit stops of maximum elapsed time 14 seconds. “If we do that we hope that we can create three pit stop strategies.

        … which would help solve one of the biggest problems with ‘create more pitstops’ – apart from difficulty of overtaking, if you then lose more than 20s with a stop, that’s hard to make up; but if it becomes closer to 15s or less, an extra pitstop might be easier to gamble on.

        Something I saw before, and also like, is how they thought about the angle of banking, comparing it to Brazil. I do think it is useful that the people running (and owning) the track are all motorsport enthusiasts (including various levels of track experience).

        1. Is missed that, thanks, great news. I’ve been banging on for ages about exploring the possibility of double sided pitlanes for the same reason.

          1. BlackJackFan
            18th May 2019, 2:28

            Hi Dave… I’ve not heard you “banging on” but your idea seems novel if, at first ‘glance’, impractical. Care to elucidate…?

          2. There isn’t much to the idea. It’s pitlane speed limits that mAke stops so long. Put pit boxes on both sides of the pit lane, you only need half the length, so roughly halve the time for pit stops.

            Plainly there are practical issues to overcome in terms of safety, and it would require space that doesn’t exist at some cur rent tracks, but it’s not rocket surgery, and F1 could deal with those problems.

          3. BlackJackFan
            18th May 2019, 16:51

            Well… certainly novel… but you know how many people hate changes like this on principle. I’d like to see it in operation. I can foresee problems with two cars returning to the pit-lane from opposite sides at the same time… but it’s a better idea than water sprinklers… ;-)

          4. ” I can foresee problems with two cars returning to the pit-lane from opposite sides at the same time…”

            A good example of how it requires thinking about, but doesn’t present insurmountable problems. Arrange the pit boxes so that they aren’t directly opposite each other – with a bit of stagger. That way one car will be ahead of the other and the usual unsafe release rules can be applied.

      2. Thanks @montreal95, looks promising.

  19. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    17th May 2019, 14:17

    100% agree. Fellow F1 fans, you need to get over yourselves sometimes. The Spanish Grand Prix was NOT a “snooze-fest”. Yes, there was little overtaking by the front cars, but there were some great passes further back and an intriguing fight between 3 different strategies (Verstappen’s clear 2-stop, Leclerc’s clear 1-stop, and the kind of in-the-middle strategy of the Mercs and Vettel) that kept me on the edge of my seat until the safety car (after which I was on the edge of my seat because overtaking actually seemed possible). Leave Zandvoort alone (mostly). If you have to change the Hugenholtz corner because of safety and the paddock, sure. Change the Audi-S as well, it’s not a great corner. But leave the rest damn well alone. Everyone laughed when the suggestion was made to have 2 shorter races per weekend rather than the single race format we know, but I completely understand why it was proposed. F1 fans don’t seem to have much of an attention span. If there’s not at least one non-DRS pass every 5 minutes, the race is deemed “terrible” and, as I mentioned before, a “snooze-fest”. And to anyone trying to roast me, that’s fine, but be aware I’m not admonishing ‘kids these days’, as I am myself just 18. There is more to F1 than just overtaking and wheel-to-wheel racing. If that is your only interest, go watch IndyCar or F2 (which I would recommend watching anyways)

    1. F1 fans don’t seem to have much of an attention span.

      Just forgot what I wanted to say on that, @leonardodicappucino ;)

    2. @leonardodicappucino I’d save your breath, modern F1 fans don’t get the nuance and subtleties of a Grand Prix.

      I agree with what you said for the record.

    3. Not sure all of IndyCar would work, as those oval races tend to be seriously long for someone with attention span issues @leonardodicappucino; sure with yellow flag situations galore, but still (then again, just switch on for the start, then the last 20-50 laps to see who’s still within the 1st 1-5 laps and might win, and the final showdown to see how it falls out, I guess?).

  20. Couldn’t agree more with you @keithcollantine !
    Designing tracks around the idea of maximising overtakes is the worst thing that has happened to F1. Abu Dhabi is the result of this: a soulless track which provides no challenge to the drivers. Even worse the races there have barely any overtakes.

  21. I have not been to a race in nine years, but I think I will go see this one. The stretch from Hugenholtz to Scheivlak should be spectacular to watch.

    I do wonder how they are going to handle the whole F1 circus descending. This March I was at the track for a running event with start and finish on the circuit, and the inside of the pit boxes are small. Also, as Nico Hulkenberg pointed out, the paddock has room for one hospitality suite. I’m actually doubtful Red Bull’s new Energy Station will fit at all.

    1. Well, they can always put them on barges at sea. Like Monaco you have to adapt to the track.

  22. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    17th May 2019, 15:09

    Seems I’m in the minority but hard disagree.

    The idea of the track returning is a good thing and worth celebrating – don’t get me wrong, but adding more races that are going to end up processional isn’t a good idea. So the race is going to be largely decided by qualifying, and then relying on reliability failure or desperate lunges to change position? That’s not too fun to watch.

    Perhaps this would be better news if the cars could actually follow and race wheel to wheel strongly, but at the moment they can’t do that effectively even with the DRS toys so the race will end up being processional. People do watch F1 for the ‘show’, and a major part of that would be overtaking and seeing drivers race – not finishing in the same order as they started.

    1. @rocketpanda – Agree with you here.

      I don’t think F1 has to have circuits “designed for passes.” Spa is great. I also enjoy Canada. And Monaco can be enjoyable for what it is. But if a circuit doesn’t allow passes and either the cars/tires/or track doesn’t allow drivers to race closely, then what is the point? Hold qualifying and leave it at that.

      This isn’t really a Zandvoort issue, it’s a formula issue. But many of us have been complaining about that for some time. And since that is not getting addressed, then where the races occur is about all that is left that can impact the race. Before the season, I said the new wings were just the same idea we had before and nothing will come of it. Guess what, nothing has come of it. Incremental change is not going to get us close racing, we need a massive change. Maybe when that comes, we can celebrate older tracks again for their flow and sinuous corners. Until then, they are just the latest addition to a lineup of tracks that often have boring races.

      1. We are on the cusp of important changes that will greatly improve the driver vs driver racing. I suspect Zandvoort will be awesome, especially from 2021 onward, as will other tracks ‘change’ in terms of the show they put on, with the proposed key changes to the cars.

      2. BlackJackFan
        18th May 2019, 2:43

        Hi hobo – quite agree with you, and all the talk about “in the mists of some future time” all will be solved is arrant nonsense. As you say, with the 2019 aero changes we were told this will have an immediate effect… They didn’t…! And this isn’t the first time we’ve had such promises…! Now ‘they’ say we have to patiently wait another two years, and then we will see great changes. You’ll have to forgive me that, after many years of unfulfilled promises (like all sorts of governments around the world…), I have no more naive faith left… Oh, woe is me… ;-)

        hold – won’t – I – breath – my… Rearrange into a well-known phrase or saying… lol.

        1. Quite right. The last few seasons have seen rule changes that are obviously going to have effects that are the direct opposite of what is claimed.

          One of the most obvious truths of any kind of racing is that the narrower vehicles – or horses, humans running, etc. – are relative to a race track, the easier it will be to overtake. Only in F1 could they decide that making the cars wider will increase overtaking chances.

          For all the complaints about Bernie, he understood this kind of thing in a way that Liberty don’t. One of the unseen things he did so well was to be the adult in the room when teams and the FIA squabbled over rule changes, to make sure the worst ideas were rejected.

          1. BlackJackFan
            18th May 2019, 16:56

            Yeah… wider cars… Whoodda thought it…!?

  23. Yet I can’t help but think the quickest way to make it better would be to stop complaining about it so much.

    welcome to the age of the internet, the age of every being told their opinion matters, the age of children being told there is no wrong answer, the age of anger, misinformation and fear. this is the age of the personal perspective as vested interest.

    but, enough of that nonsense. I applaud your comment @keithcollantine and I wish more in the sport were more capable of saying what needs to be said. the sport must continue to be a sport and zandvoort is a sporting theatre par excellence, a sporting challenge worthy of the primary motorsport in the world.

    however, in the current guise, the spectacle will be largely confined to qualifying, so I feel some (very little) sympathy for the whingers and moaners. zandvoort should be an excellent race because it is a difficult track, with real gravel run offs and close barriers – errors would ordinarily be punished. but the current guise of F1 means that drivers are barely at 7/10ths during the race so the probability of error is close to zero. this is also why monaco, the race, has ceased to be the spectacle it once was (unless it rains, fingers crossed).

    also, for the classic races you forgot the best one of all – villeneuve in 1981. thankfully no DRS that day…

  24. I agree with Keith. The fault is not in the track but in the cars.

    If IndyCar can put on an entertaining show at Barber—a similarly narrow track designed for bikes—then F1, with a properly regulated aero formula, should be able to put on an entertaining show at Zandvoort.

  25. So, you all don’t care about overtaking?
    WHich means, all the time one of you complained about a boring race, because there was supposedly no action on track, it was an excuse.
    Good to know.

    1. Or perhaps those are different people; that’s what I tend to see, looking at different names on either side of this issue, and those that are often in the middle (and then some that will always tend to be counter others, some bored/excited when a particular driver/team wins).

    2. I think there will be plenty of overtaking with 3 pitstops people are all on different tyres so great for overtaking.

      Tarzan corner (turn 1) is so big you can overtake with 2 different ways so expect lots of action there.

  26. Yet I can’t help but think the quickest way to make it better would be to stop complaining about it so much.

    Amen. So many amens to that.

  27. Keith has been whining about overtaking being f1’s number one problem longer than this website has been… yet all of a sudden that’s ok because new track?

    Decades of heritage? Um ok..
    Famous corners? Um, ok…

  28. Yet I can’t help but think the quickest way to make it better would be to stop complaining about it so much.

    Because this will somehow make it better?

    I appreciate the opinion pieces, @keithcollantine, but I have to disagree. Sitting down and shutting up and just watching whatever they (FIA, FOM, F1) provide us is what Bernie wanted us to do. Remember no YT clips? No streaming? Ridiculous qualifying change in 2016? Ideas for sprinklers and medals and who knows what else?

    The reason people are complaining is because they care about the sport. And just because some people are thrilled at the minutiae of a midfield undercut—that most of us cannot see anyway because our TV provider does not have 7 channels of onboard selection—that may or may not swap 8th and 9th place, doesn’t mean that the rest of us should just accept the broken sport that this is lately.

    Yes, there have often been runs of dominance. But name the last one that lasted this long and was this overwhelming? I’m not sure there was one, and if there was it was a hell of a long time ago. Even the Schumacher, Brawn, Todt dynasty didn’t last this long. And there were multiple years where it could have gone to another team—legitimately.

    I am by no means an old-timer or even a emerald, platinum, or gold member of F1 fandom. But I’ve been watching for 20 years now. I saw first-hand the Ferrari years and the Red Bull years. This is too much. So forgive me for saying, as cool as it is to bring back old(er) tracks, that isn’t going to save the sport. They need competition, and lacking that, who cares? They might as well race on an oval or in a straight line at this point. Maybe then someone else would have a chance.

  29. No overtaking! Keith! You have lost the plot. It’s called a motor race not a concours d’elegance procession.
    I have been watching motor racing for over 60 years and I want to see racing.

    1. Then you need racetracks and not tilkeboringstuff.
      Ergo, Monaco, Zandvoort, Montreal.
      To the limit.

  30. Hmmm…. if that was the case then why isn’t everyone a fan of YAS Abu Dhabi, SOCHI and VALENCIA ?

    1. flat circuits aren’t great for racing but no gravel pits or grass means no penaulty for mistakes.

  31. I must also add that the art of over taking ( yes it’s an art ) is one way in which drivers show their skill and expertise. If overtaking is not possible then it’s a waste

    1. There is also an art to defending though, and especially once the cars are much less clean air dependent and drs is gone, that art is going to come back.

  32. Zandvoort has the same designer as Suzuka, so the challenge is real. What they also add is a blisterering fast pitstop time because of the very short entrance (this will be one of the changes they make to the circuit). With sub 15sec pitstops it will definitly add new startegies into the mix like a 3-stopper.

  33. Yes, lets have more Driver parades. passing is for roadways not Races. That headline makes no sense.

  34. Neil (@neilosjames)
    17th May 2019, 21:52

    Disagree on the general statement. Races in the past that were great to watch despite a particular overtake not occurring had something modern F1 on a processional track doesn’t have – suspense, or the feeling that an overtake could happen. Hunt’s first win, that Villeneuve drive at Jarama… they were real, close fights, in cars that were a lot easier to make mistakes in, and when you watch them you feel like something could happen at any time.

    But when a ‘battle’ is two cars driving around 0.9-1.0 seconds apart (DRS-assisted shrinking to 0.4-0.5 seconds at the braking zone at the end of a long straight), over and over, in incredibly predictable and benign cars, where the guy ahead barely has to do more than press his accelerator and brake in the right place to stay ahead and the only interaction between the cars is in the form of dirty air, it’s not fun. It’s dull and about as exciting to watch as free practice.

    Specific to Zandvoort, I have no idea what it’ll be like to race on until I see the finished product with cars on it, so none of the above relates to that track, or my expectations for the Dutch GP. If it’s ‘fun no overtaking’ (where the possibility of some interaction between the cars is there), I’ll be happy enough. But if it’s Scalextric-on-one-track type stuff, I doubt my Rate The Race score will be positively influenced by the drivers saying the circuit was challenging and fun to drive in qualifying.

    1. @neilosjames, I don’t know about Villeneuve’s drive at Jarama being thought of as all that brilliant at the time – for example, Murray Walker has talked about how he actually thought it was a pretty boring race to watch and there wasn’t any real tension (and, indeed, there are contemporary articles complaining about the “mickey mouse” ” clinical” track that was criticised for the quality, or rather lack of, the races held there, including that race).

      1. Neil (@neilosjames)
        18th May 2019, 15:46

        Ah, could be that my ‘modern’ eye (used to bigger gaps) makes it look much closer/tense in second half than it really was – even though I know ‘the pass’ never happened, when I watched it I still almost managed to convince myself that it might.

  35. Keith, this article made me reconsider contributing financially to this site. Please don’t go down this road, it doesn’t matter where F1 races if there is no actual racing then there is no excitement, no fun and no reason to be interested. Don’t lose sight of that, F1 needs more racing for the win or the whole thing is a farce.

    1. Using your money to put pressure on free speech. Disgusting!!

      1. It is his money to spend, not yours.

  36. I think people are confusing the difference between overtaking and racing.

    The problem we have now is that it’s almost impossible to have “racing” between modern F1 cars because a combination of aero and tyres doesn’t allow for cars to follow each other closely.

    If they could do that then we’d truly see racing with two cars or more pushing each other down the track almost nose to tail, one trying to stay in front and one trying to get past.

    That leads to proper overtaking (or more to the point) proper attempts to overtake being influenced not by a button but by driving skill or driver mistakes under pressure.

    Fix that and circuits like Monaco etc will become a lot more interesting. It’s not the tracks, it’s not the lack of overtaking, it’s the lack of ability to race. Fix that and people will stop with the “it’s impossible to overtake” rubbish.

  37. Then this will be like Monaco … a spectacle and not a race.

    1. I like Monaco and I like spectacles. So I must be a happy puppy now :)

  38. José Lopes da Silva
    18th May 2019, 7:04

    “The calendar needs a mix of tracks”

    Don’t even think of slashing Monaco, then.

  39. When F1 was last at Zandvoort, unless my memory is playing tricks, commentators used to frequently mention sand blown onto the track as a performance factor – being so close to the sea. If nothing else this will add a new factor to the grip equation.

  40. I understand you can’t fairly compare two wheels with four, but watching MotoGP the quality of racing is so much better. There are obviously a number of other factors which help this – shorter races with no pit stops, less dirty air, and a smaller margin for error – but the fact is that most of the time you can go into a race where 4-6 riders may have a realistic chance of winning, on various different bikes. I love both series equally but it’s so depressing to see Marquez & Dovi battling it out on the final corner, then watching F1 where you can regularly be half way through the race and not one driver is within a second of the car in front, and you know there just no chance of even an attempted overtake. It’s even more impressive when you think back to around 2011/12 when I remember in MotoGP it was always a 2 horse race between Honda and Yamaha, Dorna may not be perfect but they’ve done a great job of levelling the playing field without using daft gimmicks.

    1. @gusty, well, it depends what exactly you do consider to be a “daft gimmick”, because the irony is that MotoGP has been using a number of the same tools that are criticised in F1 – namely, restrictions on fuel allowances and tyres that now require greater management by the riders (I recall one article from earlier this season where the writer noted how one rider from the tail end had gone off, been forced to get a replacement bike and then, when returning to the track, simply hammered the tyres and was going over a second a lap faster than the leaders, who were busy managing their tyres).

  41. Zandvoort does indeed look a challenging circuit to drive and I agree drivers being tested should be a much higher priority than it currently is when making or choosing new circuits to race at.
    What I am very happy about is that finally the whinging brigade are being called out by this sites owner. “It’s boring” “there’s no overtaking” “only one team/driver wins” why these people choose F1 as their sport of choice is anyone’s guess. We all have a choice…watch or don’t watch. Quit the damn whinging and choose a sport more to your liking as this is doing more harm than anything happening on track. Bravo Kenneth.

  42. I don’t respect the way that Verstappen defends, but he has made it clear that circuits that offer “opportunities for overtaking” due to “long straights followed by sharp corners” won’t produce a good race or more overtaking because the driver in front is allowed to block the driver behind. I agree with Keith that it would a better race would be had where the track really challenges the driver and overtakes happen organically when the driver in front makes a mistake due to pressure from the driver behind. The current aero rules reduce how close the driver behind can follow and therefore how much pressure they can apply and that certainly needs to be addressed for the best outcome here, but a move toward races where the tracks are more challenging and the drivers can follow closely would be the best outcome in my opinion. I’d also like to see less communication with the team about tyre temps and tyre management, and more of the drivers struggling with their tyres a l Motogp as this makes for exciting unpredictable racing that I love to watch.

  43. Why is there so much complaining about about the restricted width of the track at Zandvoort? “To narrow to overtake”?
    And why is nobody complaining about the F1 cars in 2019? Is the racing better on track where one can overtake? No.
    The cars are to wide! The wheels and the wings did only grow in recent years and they are not more fun to drive than the cars in 2015 – ’16. There are several drivers today that prefer the older cars. Why do the cars of today need more speed and more grip? Why 210mph instead of 187mph.? If this growing in width and power continues in the coming years it will not be only Zandvoort that is to narrow for overtaking. So, slim and sleek those cars down to a manageable size. After all, increased G forces, top speed and grip do not make racing better, it makes blocking, crashing and wheel banging better.

  44. Sort of agree Keith. Great for the Die-Hards i guess. But wont be winning any new fans. Crowd should be great

Comments are closed.