Look at the above image, that’s not a Trump hate rally or a human rights activist group. It’s the Belgian Grand Prix painted orange in support of Dutch driver Max Verstappen. The race was sort of a mini-home Grand Prix for Max Verstappen since he was born in Belgium. And this is the second year in a row that the Belgian Grandstands have been painted orange. And this despite the fact that the country has its own driver now in the form of Stoffel Vandoorne since Thierry Boutsen retired in 1993.
Verstappen has quickly climbed the popularity ladder with his ‘I don’t give a damn’ attitude off the track, matching it with superb skills on it belying his tender age. The kid has made a lot of fans all over the world but especially the Dutch who now have a real driver to adore since Jos Verstappen.
There are a few tracks that’ll drop off the calendar in the upcoming years. The new owners are also interested in upping the number of races to 25 hence there’s a good chance for new venues.
So instead of going to places with no connection to motorsport, F1 would be better served by going places that have the heritage. Netherlands is one such place and it boasts the legendary Zandvoort circuit to make the return too. The fans all over the world would
absolutely love it, but also the added benefit of luring the adoring Dutch people to the track and utilizing the Verstappen hype, F1 has a potential jackpot in its hands.
With Amsterdam less than 50 Km away, it would make a perfect tourist destination too and a mass appeal to the international fans too.
Zandvoort is a fast and flowing track, an old school classic. Unlike the new age Tilke tracks, Zandvoort has been and can be the venue for good racing.
The new owners have decided to make each race more of an event than a race. For that to be successful, it needs the support of an enthusiastic crowd. Looking at the way the Dutch crowd turned up at Spa in 2015 & 2016 is a testimony to this fact. F1 would be mad to miss out on Dutch Grand Prix opportunity.
In May, the local hero did turn up at Zandvoort for a demonstration event. Running the 2012 RB8, he enthralled the fans who turned up in huge numbers. Verstappen did donuts and burnouts and even broke the lap record, Unofficially though.
Watch the glimpse of the event below:
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) May 22, 2017
Notice the jam-packed grandstands, just to cheer and witness their latest F1 maestro. Sensing the opportunity, the City Council is conducting a feasibility study to hold an F1 race.
Obstacles in the way
It is not straightforward though, holding the race in Netherland. There are many obstacles in the way to hold an F1 race at Zandvoort. First, it’ll require upgrading the track to F1 standards and pumping in money. Incidentally, Zandvoort fell out of the calendar because it ran into financial troubles. The track lacks adequate run-off areas too.
But the biggest problem is actually the infrastructure around Zandvoort. Zandvoort is a summer resort town in itself which means the burden on public infrastructure is anyways high. There is a lack of major roads that connect to the track as well. The major highways called the A9 and A10 suffer severe congestion on a normal day, an F1 weekend is feared to have crippling effects.
The problem can be mitigated using the railway that connects directly to the town though.
The point is that none of the problems are too big to derail the dream. The Dutch have a hero to cheer to and F1 has a venue to go to. I hope the bosses are looking into this possibility.
F1 and the Netherlands are certainly the recipe for success!
And now the Dutch have more news to rejoice to. News is making rounds that Liberty Chief Sean Bratches visited Holland to talk to local representatives about holding a street race in the country. Two venues have been identified that fit the requirements. They are Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Riding on the Verstappen mania, a race in Holland could very well turn out to be the success Liberty is hoping for.