F1 ‘very interested’ in Dutch GP

Mat Coch

Tuesday 20th November, 2018 - 9:23am

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F1 is keen on returning to the Netherlands

Nigel Mansell during the last Dutch Grand Prix in 1985

Formula 1’s commercial boss Sean Bratches has admitted the sport is ‘very interested’ in reincarnating the Dutch Grand Prix as they look to capitalise on Max Verstappen’s popularity.

The Netherlands last hosted a grand prix at Zandvoort in 1985, the venue having hosted 30 world championship grands prix since 1952.

Since falling off the calendar the circuit has undergone significant redevelopment, with F1 race director Charlie Whiting recently confirming that it could easily be upgraded to meet current safety requirements.

In January Whiting also visited Assen, home of the Dutch MotoGP, giving that circuit a thumbs up as a prospective F1 venue.

A return to the Netherlands could come as soon as 2020 with Bratches confirming discussions with organisers have taken place.

“We are very interested in racing in Holland,” he told Reuters.

“We are having productive conversations there and I am cautiously optimistic we can do something to surprise and delight fans in that territory and take advantage of the Max factor.”

Over the last two years Red Bull has hosted ‘Jumbo Racedagen’ events at the remodelled Dutch circuit, which this year saw Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo race while towing caravans.

Earlier this month F1 announced it will travel to Vietnam in 2020, the first new event since Liberty Media took over the commercial rights from Bernie Ecclestone.

The sport also insists it will expand beyond the current 21-race calendar in coming years, and while it will look to maintain historic races it will also shed races to make room for new events.

“We expect to expand our calendar beyond our current 21-race schedule,” Bratches said earlier this month.

“Expansion will be modest but we have been excited by the number, quality and diversity of new locations interested in hosting a race.

“We expect to replace a few existing races where we inherited unattractive agreements with new events or agreements that are better for racing and provide more value.”

Currently the British Grand Prix is without a contract following next year’s event, with Silverstone having exercised a break clause it its contract as a result of escalating hosting fees.

It, along with the Italian Grand Prix, are the only two events to have featured in every season of F1 since its inception in 1950.

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