The Dutch Grand Prix was returning to Formula 1 in 2020. It was after an absence of an unbelievable 35 years, as it last took place in 1985. To the dismay of countless F1 fans, the race organizers confirmed that the 2020 Dutch Grand Prix wasn’t going to happen. On F1ntastic Gaming, I recently uploaded a video, and it had some incredibly exciting gameplay of the Dutch GP. So that’s why this blog post talks about 5 reasons why it is a pity that this race was cancelled.
The Dutch Grand Prix has historically been one of the most exciting events of the Formula 1 calendar. It has taken the name of the European Grand Prix twice. This is an honorary designation that Formula 1 gives to a Grand Prix in Europe every year, but F1 stopped it after 2016. The European Grand Prix at Zandvoort happened in 1962 and 1976. Unfortunately, 1985, saw the Dutch Grand Prix run for one final time. However, after 35 years, Zandvoort was returning.
Let’s take a look at all the 5 reasons why it is a pity that Formula 1 and race organisers cancelled such a positively anticipated race. But before I start this post, I would like to make a suggestion. Please watch the YouTube video above before reading this post, because there are multiple references to the video, and what happened in the video.
Please note that I am not against or criticizing Formula 1’s decision to cancel the race. I just wanted to make a post about the wonderful race that we will be able to witness in 2021.
1. Max Verstappen Still Doesn’t Get His Home Grand Prix
Max Verstappen. The Home hero of the Dutch Grand Prix. Even though he was born and brought up in Belgium, and his mother is Belgian, he races under the Dutch flag. His father, Jos Verstappen, was a Dutch Formula 1 driver, and so Max had a strong connection to Formula 1 throughout his childhood. He spent a lot of time karting with his father, and he also grew up with a lot of Dutch people in Belgium, so he decided to race under the Dutch flag. The Dutch Grand Prix stopped before Jos Verstappen started his Formula 1 career, so Max having a home Grand Prix was something that people were thinking about.
Many Grands Prixs have seen seas of Orange in the grandstands to support the Dutch driver. The European Grands Prix have incredible amounts of Dutch fans. You can see in the image above that the Austrian Grand Prix is best known for having a countless number of Dutch fans. Entire grandstands were full of orange! This is because the Austrian GP is Red Bull’s home race. Since Verstappen is half Belgian, the Belgian Grand Prix was pretty much his home race. he did special things for the Belgian GP. For example, he used a special Dutch Helmet for the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix. But in May 2019, it was announced that the Dutch GP would take place.
How We Know That Verstappen Is The Most Important Part Of The Dutch GP
Max Verstappen started his Formula 1 career in 2015. 2020 is now his 5th year in Formula 1, and he already has a mountain of fans all around the world, supporting him at every race. He is incredibly famous, and his fans increase every race since he is so good at performing well. After the announcement of the Dutch Grand Prix, many expected seas, no wait, oceans of fans to be present. Although Circuit Zandvoort only has a capacity of just over 100,000 people, reports were crazy. They showed that over a million fans applied for tickets to the GP. OVER A MILLION! This shows the significance of Max Verstappen having a home race.
Formula 1’s youngest race winner is one of if not the largest reasons for the Dutch GP to return to F1. This is something that I’m sure everyone agrees on. Everyone would also agree that Verstappen was looking towards what could’ve been one of the most important races of his career, before the COVID-19 Pandemic. Now let’s move on to Point Number 3.
FUN FACT: Carel Godin de Beaufort and Gijs van Lennep are 2 Dutch drivers. They are the only Dutch drivers to score a point at the Dutch GP. They finished sixth in 1962 and 1973 respectively. Verstappen will be hoping to become the third Dutch driver to score a point at the Dutch Grand Prix, but he is also hoping to become the first Dutch driver to win his home GP.
2. Circuit Zandvoort Is LEGENDARY.
Circuit Zandvoort. What a track. Known for its fast, sweeping corners, and the flow of the track as the race through the dunes, this track is truly iconic. One of if not the best-known corners of this track is the Tarzan corner. The camber provides plenty of overtaking opportunities. This corner gets its name from the local character who owned a vegetable garden in the dunes where Zandvoort is. Locals called him Tarzan, and he was only giving up his garden if the track designers named a nearby corner after him. This is why Turn 1 is the Tarzan corner.
FUN FACT! Some know Zandvoort for fatal accidents, with 13 of them happening since 1958.
The track has had six variations, the latest being the 2020 Zandvoort track, which saw alterations to the track to make it suitable for Formula 1. But before we get into the new Zandvoort circuit, let’s talk about the circuit that held every single Dutch Grand Prix.
The Old Zandvoort
The old Zandvoort circuit was built using the roads that the German Army used for communication in the Second World War. It was about the same length as the current Zandvoort, but you can see that only the first sector of the old track is the same as the new track. The old track was much more spread out and gave the classic cars’ brakes more time to cool off with more time spent in a straight line. In 1985, CENAV, the company that ran the circuit, went out of business. This was the end of the old Zandvoort circuit. The municipality of Zandvoort owned the circuit, and there was a danger of motorsports losing Zandvoort forever.
But then, in 1987, Vendorado bought part of the grounds and around half of the circuit. Also, a new operating company, the Stichting Exploitatie Circuit Park, was formed and started work towards reconstructing the track. This was the beginning of Circuit Park Zandvoort. In 1989, the operating company remodelled the track to an interim Club Circuit of 2.6 kilometres. Vendorado bought the southern half of the circuit, as mentioned before. They built a Vendorado Bungalow Park and new premises for the local football and hockey clubs.
In 1995, Zandvoort was becoming a Grand Prix circuit again and was going to be long enough and suitable for forms of motorsport like A1 Grand Prix. Now let’s start talking about the new 2020 version of Circuit Park Zandvoort.
The New Zandvoort
Circuit Zandvoort was renovated in preparation for this year’s race. The circuit had to be able to suit the high speeds of modern Formula 1 cars and to improve the experience for both fans and drivers to create a spectacular Dutch Grand Prix. There were 3 major upgrades for the old track to make the new track. The first major change was in the paddock. The update saw the paddock expand, allowing a more comfortable experience for the members of the paddock. There were new gravel run-off beds, improving the run-off areas.
Now let’s talk about banking. As you would know from watching the F1ntastic Gaming YouTube video, there are 2 corners of Circuit Zandvoort that are heavily banked. Please note that there are multiple corners with camber on the track, but we are going to talk about the corners which have much more camber than before.
Turn 3, Hugenholtzbocht, is the most banked corner on the entire circuit. It now has banking of a whole 19 degrees! Banking means to tilt, so the track is heavily tilted at the corner. This is to increase the speed of the corner and to allow the cars to get a better exit of the corner and zoom through the dunes.
Thanks to the banking, Turn 14, Arie Luyendijkbocht, which is the final corner, is flat out. This means that drivers can zoom through the corner, pressing the accelerator fully. They can do this without any problems with hitting the barrier on the outside. Without banking, the corner would be very slow, and very frustrating, and would result in cars not being able to near as fast as they can with the banking. The banking allows the cars to get a good run on the main straight and improves overtaking into Turn 1. Now, let’s move onto the 2nd point for today.
3. The Dutch Grand Prix Was One Of F1’s Biggest Talking Points.
Apart from the Vietnamese Grand Prix, which was supposed to take place for the first time on the 5th of April 2020, the return of the Dutch Grand Prix was one of the biggest talking points in F1. This brings us to our third reason. The track was being renovated since it hadn’t been used in F1 for such a long time. This renovation included corners being banked, which means the track was tilted, as mentioned before. Turns 3 and 14 have a banking of 19 and 18 degrees respectively.
The limit for banking was 5.7 degrees, but the FIA made an exception for Zandvoort. The fact that such an amazing track and such an amazing race was returning made people all the more excited for the first season of the decade. People wanted to know more about the race, people were talking about the race. The real world wasn’t the only talking point.
The new circuit was going to be in the new F1 game as well, which it is. Unfortunately, we got to experience the Dutch Grand Prix in the sim racing world before the real world. However, that adds to the excitement for next year, and on top of that, the sim racing world is amazing right! People were talking about the track, the race, how it would be in the game, so many positive and exciting things about the Dutch Grand Prix. Another thing they were talking about was some black-wall Pirelli tires at winter testing, which brings us to our next point.
4. The Dutch Grand Prix Could Have Had Special Tires
Another talking point was the tires that Pirelli created especially for the Dutch GP. At winter testing, fans spooted Hamilton’s and Vettel’s cars sporting some black-wall prototype Pirelli tires. These tires had a slightly different rubber construction, made to fit Zandvoort better than the normal tires.
The front tires were different, and the plan was to use them with slightly higher tire pressure. The tires mere meant to be slightly more resistant, and stronger than the normal F1 tires. They would fit the banking and the tarmac roughness, and other parts of Circuit Zandvoort. Although it was likely that the teams would just be given the harder tire compounds instead of special tire compound, each team was given two sets of the new compound, in addition to their normal complement of testing tyres at winter testing. Pirelli was using Barcelona as a testing ground for some new and possibly required tires. After all, it is winter testing. But then, all this didn’t matter this year when F1 cancelled the Dutch GP. However, it is something that makes a difference in the F1 game.
Normal Tires May Not Be Durable Enough
If you guys watched my YouTube video, you would have seen that the soft tires and the tires that teams use in most of the Grands Prix may not be durable enough for Zandvoort. They wear out and heat up easier in comparison to other tracks. However, tyre temps are more important and significant in the F1 game. But still, the tyres were really heating up at Zandvoort. One thing I noticed is that the banked corners heat up your tires more, and put more pressure on your tires. Maybe that’s why Pirelli are trying to make more durable tires. And this brings us on to our last point, strategies.
5. The Dutch Grand Prix Could Have Different Strategies
After hearing about the special Pirelli tires, and from playing the Dutch Grand Prix on the F1 2020 game, I realized something. The Dutch Grand Prix could’ve been filled with different strategies. The tire temperatures were getting higher in the banked corners, meaning that the tires were wearing out as well. Some drivers would have been able to come in later if they went a little less aggressive and managed their tires. But drivers who are more aggressive, like me on the F1 game, would be facing issues with the tires. Then they would pit earlier as I did in the YouTube video. However, the difference won’t be too big, because as mentioned above, it was likely that Pirelli would just provide teams with the harder tire compounds.
But then, a completely different strategy would come in for those who started on the mediums. In the YouTube video, it was proven that starting on the mediums was the best strategy. Max Verstappen did a huge overcut on us and pitted much later than I did. He then came out of the pits quite far ahead of us, even though he was behind us before the pit stop phase. On top of that, he pitted onto the soft tires, which are the fastest tires. Zandvoort is a track which is capable of housing a range of different strategies. It would have been amazing to see, even if it was from our homes, the results of such a variety for real.
This is the end of the post; I hope you enjoyed reading about the Dutch Grand Prix. I can’t wait to watch the Dutch Grand Prix finally return in 2021, and I’m sure you guys can’t either. Stay safe, and stay on the lookout for new posts!