Dutch group Mobilisation for the Environment is calling for the F1 race in Zandvoort to have its permit revoked due to environmental damage.
The Dutch Grand Prix returned to the calendar in 2021 and proved to be a hugely popular event, with the tickets selling out and the atmosphere widely praised.
Not everyone is a fan of the event though, with some environmental groups believing the emissions released are harming the sand dunes where the circuit is located.
MOB have taken the matter to court and Valentijn Wösten, a legal advisor, feels the licence for the event being revoked should be the outcome.
‘The legal requirement for permits is that there should be no uncertainty about possible harmful consequences for the protected ecology,” he told f1maximaal.nl.
“With the report, it is established there is no such certainty. Then the judge can only go one way – annul the permit decision.”
The group’s argument is largely based around a report that has claimed the actual amount of emissions released by the event is higher than the official figures provided by Zandvoort.
That, they say, can cause serious harm to the “vulnerable” area and so the race should take place elsewhere.
“As a follow-up to this, politicians will have to conduct a serious debate about the enforceability of a mass event location in the middle of vulnerable dunes,” Wosten added.
“The debate about moving to a less vulnerable location should have been held much earlier. Leaving uncertainty about the future of the circuit at this location is not good for anyone.”
Former F1 driver Jan Lammers, the sporting director of the race, feels the group are using the matter to draw more attention to themselves, but says that is within their rights and welcomes the case.
“We naturally generate a lot of media attention with our GP, and this creates an opportunity for the environment and nature organisations that they can use,” he said.
“That is their right, and it is now up to us to defend in this case through the court that we are within our rights. We can do that, but it’s not up to us to judge that – the judge will ultimately have to do that.
“Of course, we do our very best to do our homework and make sure the facts are correct. We are not trying to tell a story to anyone with a mirror and beads, we are just trying to show through careful work that things fit the bill.
“In any case, we have become a lot stronger because of all the trials we have gone through.”
Lammers is not overly concerned about the accusations and says the F1 cars themselves actually cause very little environmental damage these days.
“Look, when I was in F1 we had a tank of 200 litres of petrol and we did a grand prix with that,” he stated.
“Then we had just over 500 horsepower. They are now doing a GP with 136 litres and with 1,000hp, so a lot has already happened in that area. An F1 car consumes every drop of energy.
“Now I don’t want to suggest warm air comes out of the exhaust, but that fuel is used to the maximum so the emissions are also minimal.
“That said, the GP itself accounts for 1% of the total event’s emissions. In that respect, it’s not that much of a difference to a football match.”