Threat Looms Over Lewis Hamilton’s Big Announcement as Dutch GP Faces “Extreme” Dangers

Published 08/18/2023, 10:01 AM EDT

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via Reuters

It’s almost race week again! Formula 1 will finally return after a month-long summer break that gave drivers and teams a chance to recuperate after a thrilling first half. As excited as everyone is for the Dutch GP next weekend, Lewis Hamilton fans are believed to have something more to look forward to. As per recent reports, Hamilton has signed a two-year contract extension with Mercedes, and he and the team are set to announce it in Zandvoort. But that might not happen. The Dutch GP proceedings might be in danger. But how?

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The circuit in Zandvoort has posed a few problems in the past when it comes to area restrictions. Last season, with F1’s support series F3 happening on the same weekend as F1, there were major traffic congestions outside the track, making access to it quite difficult. This year, there might be an even bigger problem organizers have to face.

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As per a tweet by FormulaDirecta, “This year, [taxi] drivers will not receive any permission to access the municipality of Zandvoort. Only residents and businesses based in the beach town will receive a pass. About 150 taxi drivers in the Haarlem region do not accept this and demand a solution in a letter to the Zandvoort town hall and the GP organization.” Hosting a race at a venue is a lucrative opportunity for people like taxi drivers, seeing as they benefit from spectators who want to commute to the track. But this action from the town hall would deprive taxi drivers of this right.

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As per the tweet, if the decision isn’t overturned, or if taxi drivers aren’t given a solution, “they will take ‘extreme measures,’ such as a demonstration or even blocking access to the circuit.” That wouldn’t be good for the organizers, considering teams need access to the track for the race weekend to happen. If the race weekend doesn’t proceed as expected, Lewis Hamilton & Co. will not be able to announce their contract. While this might seem like a big problem for the Dutch GP, 2024 might bring an even bigger problem.

Lewis Hamilton and F1 might not return to Zandvoort post-2024

F1 has been working toward becoming carbon-neutral for a while now. With its aim to have net-zero emissions by 2030, the Dutch GP poses a threat to achieving that goal. When F1 returned to Zandvoort in 2021, F2 and F3 incorporated the circuit into their calendars. Last season, F3 shared the weekend with F1, but it didn’t go according to plan. As per reports, “At various times during the day, one of the entrances to the circuit had to be temporarily closed as the Formula 3 cars had to drive to the track. The whole scene not only caused hassle for the teams and drivers, but it also created traffic jams of spectators.”

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A few weeks ago, F2 and F3 released their 2024 calendars, but none featured Zandvoort, primarily because of what happened last season. With F2 joining F1 next week, the same problem might arise (over and above the taxi driver demonstration). This would not bode well for F1’s carbon footprint. Considering the environmental repercussions of the Dutch GP (with all the traffic jams), there’s a chance that 2024 might be the last time F1 races in Zandvoort.

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Watch This Story: How 10-year-old friendship between Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff is coming in the way of $35 million worth contract renewal

What do you think will go down next weekend in Zandvoort? Will Lewis Hamilton be able to announce his contract extension?

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Written by:

Aditi Krishnan

757Articles

One take at a time

Aditi is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports and is essentially a sportsperson. She fell in love with F1 in 2020. It happened when her brother tuned into that first race weekend in Austria, and she knew right then and there that she had to learn everything she could about the sport.
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