Video: Verstappen drives first lap of new-look Zandvoort

2020 Dutch Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen has driven the first lap of the revised Zandvoort circuit in a Formula 1 car.

The Red Bull driver did a demonstration run at the circuit, which will host the Dutch Grand Prix in May.

Zandvoort last held a round of the world championship in 1985. The track was subsequently revised and shortened, though the distinctive first corner Tarzan and high-speed right-hander Scheivlak were retained.

Ahead of its return to F1 the track has undergone further revisions. Although the fundamental layout remains the same, steep banking of 18.7 degrees and 17.7 degrees have been added to turns three (Hugenholtzbocht) and 13 (Arie Luyendijkbocht) respectively.

This prompted F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli to develop and test special, more resilient front tyres for the track. It has not decided whether it will use the new constructions, but has confirmed it will bring its hardest tyre allocation for the race.

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Pictures: Max Verstappen’s demonstration run at Zandvoort

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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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59 comments on “Video: Verstappen drives first lap of new-look Zandvoort”

  1. Love how the circuit flows, but it is clear that there will be very little overtaking, short of some kamikaze moves.

    1. Agreed. Stupid question. Why are the cars so much bigger? Clearly most tracks don’t facilitate overtaking due to tracks too narrow for today’s cars so what not try to make the cars smaller?

      1. @Kurik The cars used to be similarly wide back in the day to how they’ve been from 2017 onwards, but wasn’t really a problem then. Once again, the aero is the main culprit by a quite margin behind F1’s long-standing overtaking struggles. Yes, the cars could be a bit smaller, but that’s one of the lesser problems.

      2. It’s not a stupid question. It’s obvious that the cars are too wide for the tracks OR you could say that the tracks are too narrow for the cars. In addition to the aero issues, it’s clear that getting by another car too often results in contact, with the predictable results. Just watch other open wheel series with narrow cars and you’ll see the difference. If F1 just made the cars narrower by a few inches, it would make a difference.

        1. High deg. tires have a lot to do with that to. After a few laps you only have one clean lane left, venture outside in the marbles at your own risk !

        2. @partofthepuzzle No it wouldn’t. They’d already made the cars narrower by 20cm in 1998. The result? some of the worst seasons for overtaking in history. Not because of the width, but because the effect of width is insignificant compared to other factors like dirty aero and stupid tires. Back in the day before all these stupid changes the cars used to be 4.5 by 2 meters and used to be able to overtake just fine. now the cars are over 5 meters long, closer to 6m and are again 2 meters wide(having been 1.8 wide for 20 years).

          yeah, I miss the sight of a small nimble f1 car like the Tyrrell 019 or a Jordan 191 as much as anyone. But to say that this is a major problem regarding overtaking is factually incorrect.

          1. @montreal95 if you look at records of overtaking rates per race, overtaking had already reached a comparatively low point by the mid to late 1990s – it had been in a fairly persistent decline since the early 1980s, then effectively levelled off at a lower level around 1996 and remained in a similar band of overtaking rates per season until 2010.

            The rule changes in 1998 actually resulted in a fairly similar overtaking rate to the seasons before it – a bit higher than 1996, a bit lower than 1997, but otherwise not hugely different. If anything, save for the low point in 2005, in subsequent seasons the overtaking rate went up slightly compared to where it had been in the few years preceding the introduction of the 1.8m wide cars in 1998.

            The claim that they “used to be able to overtake just fine” is questionable when overtaking rates were in fact persistently declining during the period you cite.

          2. I understand the point re: the width AND the length of the cars. Obviously, the length of the cars is also a critical factor in overtaking. The current cars are also too long and that makes it very difficult to safely pass another car. The new aero rules for 2021 will reduce the effect of the turbulent air on approaching cars but that car still has to have the space to get by. Slimmer, shorter cars would help a lot but admit that is not likely to happen.

            OTOH, maybe they could just make the tracks wider ;-)!

          3. @anon My analysis is relevant in that my main point was the width of the cars is not a significant factor with regards to overtaking. There was supposed to be an improvement in overtaking with the narrower cars in 1998 which as you proved here(thanks btw I didn’t remember those stats) hadn’t happened because aero and tires are far more important in this regard than width. Also I never stated that 1997 was super for overtaking and 1998 was far worse. Read again what I said: I merely meant that there was a period before 1998 when 2m wide cars could overtake each other just fine. Again the narrowing was supposed to improve overtaking but didn’t and with hindsight couldn’t

            @partofthepuzzle The length is also insignificant if I wasn’t clear on that. To illustrate, if you have cars with today’s dimensions but with significantly less dirty aero and better tires the racing will be much better. But if you have a car that’s 4.5X1.8 meters yet has the same aero and tires as today’s cars the racing will be slightly better but not by much.

            And the modern tracks are wider than Zandvoort. Which is the same width it was in 1985 apart from the banked corners which were made wider. Doesn’t guarantee good racing as quite a few Tilkedromes prove :)

    2. @svianna Perhaps this year, depending on the effect drs will have, but next year all tracks should offer more overtaking opportunities ie. close battles once they’re rid of a significant portion of aero dependency, and add more ground effects.

      Whatever Zandvoort brings in May, it will likely be different next year.

      1. @robbie @jerejj @svianna
        In terms of overtaking, there might be more possible than previously thought.

        I love the banked T3 (Hugenholtz). Multiple lines are possible there and will cause different exit speeds leading to cars being side by side all the way through the undulating flowing part until a big b*lls braking zone into the downhill T7 (Scheivlak, the right-hander with the massive, steep gravel trap on the left). A move like that would either be an utterly epic one or a horrible mistake for both drivers… So yeah, a typical Verstappen kamikaze move basically.

        Then, that T8 through T10 section is a bit wider than the rest of the track and allows for multiple lines. This should mean breaking into the T10 left-hander could be a sneaky overtaking place, in a similar fashion as the Brazil corner where Hamilton ruined Albon’s first podium. Also, the T10 exit leads onto the short back-straight and the chicane. So depending on the angle you take in T10 that could continue the fight into the chicane. That short straight will also be the second DRS-zone if I’m correct.

        Finally, if they put the DRS activation point prior to the final corner (Arie Luyendyk corner) so the cars can take that banking with DRS open onto the main straight, there could be a move into T1 (Tarzan corner).

        All in all, they have seemed to have kept the entire layout the same (as it was since the ’90s at least) apart from adding more banking in the Hugenholtz and Luyendyk, and although overtaking at Zandvoort will not be as frequent as it is on a DRS highway like the Baku straight, the overtakes that are being completed here are going to be some brave hard-fought moves. So, for full disclosure I will retract my previous negativity about this track coming back.

        1. Very well written and i do agree i think a lot is going to happen :)

        2. Yes, and the best is that they tried to keep the track flow and character, other than “doing a Tilke” with the horrid off camber corners and hairpins and stop go zones. Well done!

          1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
            5th March 2020, 8:02

            @mmertens +1
            Best track of the season, congratulations.

        3. @jeffreyj ”Finally, if they put the DRS activation point prior to the final corner (Arie Luyendyk corner) so the cars can take that banking with DRS open onto the main straight, there could be a move into T1 (Tarzan corner).”
          – But that could be problematic, so I don’t see how the activation zone could begin any earlier than the exit of the final corner.

          1. Evert Timmer
            5th March 2020, 14:19

            The whole purpose of the banking in the final corner was to allow DRS to be open through that whole banked corner and up on to the straight, so the DRS detection point will be prior to the last corner.

    3. @svianna
      There’s another onboard from one of the Coronel brothers that gives a far better impression of how wide the circuit is at certain places; at one point you see 2 touring cars overtaking each other and there is still literally place for 3 F1 cars.
      This onboard camera simply has the wrong angle.

  2. The laps didn’t get timed BTW, since the official timing-system infrastructure wasn’t in place, the underground-loops, timing transponders, etc. Not that they’d be needed for this type of purpose anyway.

  3. One of the favorite tracks from the simracing days, but as already mentioned this should never become an F1 track as there will be little to no overtaking.

    1. I disagree .. the last banked corner (Luyendijk corner) is with DRS open so in fact it lengthens the straight .. the combined corner and straight combined is much longer then Barcelona. Also in Hugenholz corner you can drive diferent lines with two cars at the same time with will have overtake possibilities!

      1. And now try to look at it from a perspective without these orange tinted glasses. Current F1 cars can barely overtake around here. Just being able to take different lines, doesn’t mean you can overtake. Especially on a short narrow track with one billion corners.

        1. turn 3 if you use the normal line you can get fast into the corner but the otherlines have much more speed out of the corner. (check Video Max half way in the corner he loses much of his cornering speed)
          But the turn 1 after that straight and the corner in front of that should make overtaking possible.

          That is not looking through orange tinted glasses just looking at the track.

    2. @balue love this track in gpl. I have no idea how banking and aero wake interact, but I very much agree that this track is doesn’t suit modern f1.
      They have added banking? Didn’t noticed that onboard, looks like zandvoort to me. Playing GPLsims many tracks have banked

    3. @balue love this track in gpl. I have no idea how banking and aero wake interact, probably makes no difference to overtaking ability. I very much agree that this track doesn’t suit modern f1 at all.

      They’ve added banking? Didn’t noticed it onboard. looks like zandvoort to me. When I heard all the funfair, that pirelli was testing a bespoke tyre, I thought extreme banking but it’s much the same level. Playing GPL you realise tracks used to have banked corners.

      1. I think it will be even harder than Monaco to pass here. A flowing + high speed + narrow + no hairpin at end of a straight means almost zero passing and destroying your tires so quickly if you don’t immediately get past. I’m guessing the majority of the excitement we’ll see here is a big 3 chassis trying to get past a midfielder or a slow midfielder trying to get past a Williams.

        The track looks amazingly fun to drive. I’d love to race on it in my old 2002 down draft race car, but in a high speed/aero sensitive car, no thanks.

        1. Not sure why it put my comment as a reply to your’s, but oh well…probably user error on my part.

    4. Russia, Abu Dhabi, Korea, and India often produces/produced very disappointing F1 races, and those circuits were tailored to produce overtaking. At least with Zandvoort, the drivers will actually enjoy the circuit.

  4. Holy cow, some of those run-off areas look like Evel Knievel jump ramps!

    1. Yep, I’ve been wondering about that since those pics here of the track under construction, watching the lap a couple of times I too wonder why they have carrier style ski-jumps outside some corners.

      1. I think they are for Romain Grosjean instead of red flag because he crashed the race can continue as he flies of the circuit.

        But if we look behind the fun there are the empty spot for safety barriers (which are still coming) at the end of those run off areas.

    2. I’m guessing they might be changed before the race or we might definitely see some low flying.

  5. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    4th March 2020, 19:58

    I think I’ve asked this before but when teams use old cars – like in the case of Red Bull, is the engine in the back a Renault, or a Honda? Like I’m just curious I have no idea if they’d switch the engine or not.

    I like the track a lot, it looks very fast and flows well. But a little short on overtaking spots, and the chances of a saftey car I think are pretty high.

    1. It’s the “original” car, so this has got a Renault V8 engine in it. Yeah, the irony that last years F1 event in Japan was done by Red Bull Honda with a Renault engine..

      1. Its obliviously an V8 Aston Martin – Tag Heuer – Red Bull – Honda – Renault (- Nissan) with Infiniti KERS .

        dont see how that could be confusing.. 😁

  6. An onboard of Max Verstappen for his final qualifying run around here is going to be one of the highlights of the season. Fast and flowing yet tight and unforgiving.

    Unfortunately as many have already suggested, I think the racing is going to be processional.

    Most comparable in my mind to Suzuka. But that’s no bad thing !

    1. @aussierod
      That’s hardly surprising, since both tracks were dedigned by the same guy: Johannes Hugenholtz
      He took Zandvoort, made it bigger and the result was Suzuka.

      1. Didn’t know that , thanks! I wish he would be used instead of Tilke!

      2. Racecar is racecar backwards
        5th March 2020, 1:40

        Zandvoort with a figure of 8 layout would be cool.

        1. Evert Timmer
          5th March 2020, 14:23

          It would be a travesty…

    2. I must say, this is the first time in the last couple of decades that a track has been renovated and improved! That is a really epic lap. Tracks like this make me care much less if the race is a bit boring, at least it’s exciting to see the cars driving around!

  7. The last time I was at Zandvoort was in 2015 when Max drove his 2013 Toro Rosso alongside his father in his 2003 Minardi during a demo of historic Italian classic sports- and F1 cars.

    Now of all things, it seems they kept the quirky 50-year-old tiny grandstand! That’s hilarious to me. At the moment it looks a bit barren off track, but I’m sure over the next two months the grandstands, paddock, and all the other surrounding stuff will be added. I couldn’t get tickets for Sunday as there were over a million applications for just 100.000 tickets.. :( but I do have tickets for Free Practice and the Super Friday Festival. It should be fun!

    1. @jeffreyj still some grandstand tickets at f1 official site @345 euro

      1. 315 for two days. They are adding quite some seats 👍

        1. Two things that I think about it so far:

          1) Very good spectacle on Saturdays as it’s basically Monaco with more runoffs.

          2) Climbing uphill after the turns 4-5 or so looks really eerie and just hoping there won’t be any “freak” accidents.

          1. @maxv I agree that looks pretty dangerous. Maybe they will or should extend the techpro barriers all the way from Hugenholtz to Scheivlak. A shunt would still be very high speed but at least you won’t skid over the mini gravel trap and asphalt on the right before you hit the wall.

    2. @jeffreyj The car he drove must’ve been the Red Bull RB7 or RB8 rather than the Toro Rosso STR8.

      1. Yeah, it was a RBR but it had an STR livery because 1. Max was driving for them and 2. STR is the old Italian Minardi team. An RBR would have been weird at Italian car festival.

  8. Track looks a little claustrophobic to me. Nice and flowing but nowhere to pass to be honest.

    1. Potentially many places to pass but we will just have to wait and see and slap will depend on the tyres and amount of pit stops

      Both I believe ita turns 9 and 10 (or 10 and 11?) Give opportunity for lunges due to the wide entry to the corners..

      Then perhaps into the chicane, as it comes after 9, 10, 11

      Then the banked corners may allow for multiple lines, or sode by side.
      Although turn 3 is banked the inside seems to be flat meaning much greater speed should be possible around the outside

      Again unfortunately tyres will perhaps strangle battles (as well as downforce) due to driver not being able to push or not wanting to and also if they degrade to much the marbles affect potential for battles, and then offline on the banking will be treacherous, hopefully it might be kept clean due to drivers taking. Multiple lines..

      Amd also hopefully the oitlane speed limit isn’t too low

      1. Marbles will drop back into the lines as gravity pull them down.

  9. Looks nice and flowing, and quite challenging in some places, which is whats is lacking in many modern circuits. Hopefully this will make it harder to put in a perfect lap, and more mistakes will be done, creating some kind of variation. Amount of overtakes isnt the only factor for creating an interesting race.

    1. Amount of overtakes isnt the only factor for creating an interesting race

      Thank you for saying this. All people care about these days is how many overtakes there are. F1 was epic in the 70s and 80s, but there were far fewer overtakes then compared with now

      1. Look at Baku for example last season, everyone just waits during the whole lap of slow corners for the long straight for a guaranteed easy DRS pass, many overtakes but ill fall asleep during the race anyway.

        Challenging tracks where its easy to do mistakes also creates overtakes, and dynamics in track position (the most obvious is that you actually loose something by going off track, which you dont at many tracks)

    2. Yes, battles are important and also unsuccessful overtaking attempts too.. the key perhaps is that we want to see drivers atleast attempting more often not held back by tyres too much..

      I’d love to hear thoughts and criticisms of what I think is a better way of using drs.. that is that its automatically closes once the car behind reaches the car with it shut.. if that makes sense.. that way it would likely create battles rather than overtakes..

      Thoughts on this anyone?

  10. This circuit is as narrow and as twisty as the Hungaroring. Back in the nineties and zeroes the Hungaroring was notorious for the lack of overtaking. But nowadays the races there are often very entertaining (thanks to DRS and Pirelli?). Looking at the layout of the Hungaroring nobody will point to corner 2 as an overtaking spot, but it appears to be one of the most important corners to overtake. Same as Interlagos, you wouldn’t expect many overtakes in the twisty middle sector, but they are frequent. I will give my verdict about overtaking in Zandvoort in a few years, not now.

  11. Gavin Campbell
    5th March 2020, 9:57

    This is the sort of track if F1 didn’t have tyres that turn to chewing gum when on the bumper of another car would be great – same as Hungary. There is decent punishment for error so if you are following you can pressure your rival into a mistake. Although in recent F1 history the first event at a re-done or new track is normally pretty poor because the tarmac hasn’t settled in so I think we might need to wait until 2021 to make a real call on Zandvoort.

    1. I do hope the tyres dont dampen the race that much, if I’m not mistaken they are bring the most durable compounds but still.we will have to see…

  12. Neil (@neilosjames)
    5th March 2020, 10:56

    Can’t wait for this on the F1 game, looks great to drive.

    Not so excited about having it in the normal F1 season, but it may surprise.

  13. I Love this. It feels like a proper track. I am only slightly sad that the mob of so-called fans that don’t actually like anything about f1 will just instantly move to moaning once it isn’t a 100+ overtakes style event.

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