Dutch Grand Prix still in the dark over its future

Date published: March 15 2020

Zandvoort_circuit

Dutch Grand Prix sporting director Jan Lammers is still waiting for an official decision from F1 and the FIA on whether the race will go ahead as planned.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix just hours before FP1, while the following rounds in Bahrain and Vietnam have since been postponed.

The only official word has been that the season won’t start before the “end of May”, putting the Dutch GP’s scheduled date of May 3 at serious risk.

There is currently a ban in place on events with more than 100 people in the Netherlands until March 31.

Although it seems highly unlikely that the Dutch GP will keep its original slot, Lammers isn’t commenting until he hears official word from the FIA and F1.

“We haven’t received any official announcement yet,” Lammers told Motorsport.com.

“So F1 and the FIA haven’t said, ‘The Dutch GP has been cancelled for the initial date of May 3rd.’ An official message is still pending.

“Of course, no one would be surprised if there will be more clarity soon, and if the Dutch GP will be rescheduled eventually. But there is no point in going through all kinds of scenarios yet. We are waiting for clarity from F1 and the FIA before communicating anything.”

Lammers said that “coronavirus rules right now” so supports the view that public health is the priority.

“The coronavirus rules right now, it is just as simple as that,” he said.

“With the reality we faced a few months ago we wanted to race in May, of course. But with today’s reality you have to ask yourself if you want to put fans in such an uncertain situation? Public health is the most important thing to us.

“All beautiful things we have in mind for the Dutch GP in Zandvoort, I can still see them happening. But we shouldn’t forget, world health is under threat, so that is everyone’s top priority at the moment.”

If it goes ahead then the Dutch GP will make its return to the calendar in 2020 at a reprofiled Zandvoort Circuit.

F1 managing director Ross Brawn spoke about starting the season later and using the traditional summer break to put together a new-look calendar for 2020, consisting of at least “17 races”.

The Dutch GP is thought to be high on the list of races that would be included in the patched up schedule, and Lammers agrees that it will be.

“Personally, I think we are pretty high on F1’s priority list as well,” he admitted.

“But again, formally we didn’t receive a clear message yet. So we want to understand everything ourselves before we can and will communicate anything.

“I hope fans will understand this and keep their enthusiasm for a couple of months. In any case ticket holders don’t have to worry: all tickets remain valid in case the race will be rescheduled.”

Brawn also suggested cutting races to two-day events to minimise the stress of having so many rounds in a short period, but that would pose a problem for Zandvoort.

“Apparently they are considering it, but I am happy to leave that statement to them. In Zandvoort that doesn’t seem like the best option to me,” Lammers said.

“If Zandvoort is characterised by anything, it is by our ‘Super Friday’ and by the fact we are sold out for every single day. You will hardly find anything like that at other Grands Prix.

“So if other races have almost no fans attending Friday practices, then it sounds like a decent plan. But for Zandvoort that wouldn’t be the ideal scenario.”

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