Dutch Grand Prix in 2021 still ‘all or nothing’

Date published: March 22 2021

Dutch Grand Prix Zandvoort PA

The stance remains the same…only if a full crowd is allowed will the Dutch Grand Prix return to Formula 1 in 2021.

With Max Verstappen now a star of Formula 1 and enjoying a strong Dutch following around the calendar, it was decided the Dutch Grand Prix should return.

Zandvoort, which hosted the most recent Dutch Grand Prix in 1985, is to be the home of the event again but with some exciting modifications, which include the addition of banking to some of its iconic corners.

However, although the Dutch Grand Prix was meant to return in 2020, it was delayed for a year after the COVID-19 pandemic meant fans would not be allowed to attend.

And although the Dutch GP does feature on the 2021 calendar as Round 13 of 23, the event again depends on the fans. If the grandstands cannot be full, the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix will not happen.

“Nothing has changed compared to last year. At the moment we don’t get any help, it’s still all or nothing,” Robert van Overdijk, general manager of Circuit Zandvoort, told NOS.

“We heard Hugo de Jonge [outgoing Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport] last week. Anyone can be vaccinated by July 1. So we will just continue organising like there will be 104,000 people a day at the track.”

Should the Dutch Grand Prix be cancelled for the second year in a row, it raises the issue of what impact that will have on Circuit Zandvoort’s relationship with Formula 1.

But Van Overdijk does not see any issues at all, saying the viewing figures for Formula 1 in the Netherlands are increasing.

“No, we don’t worry about that at all,” he replied when the question was put to him.

“The viewing figures in the Netherlands are rising, while in the rest of the world they might drop a bit because of corona. So I think if FOM [Formula One Management] should want to be somewhere, it is still in the Netherlands.”

Zandvoort

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Jan Lammers, sporting director of the Dutch Grand Prix, has confidence the event will be able to go ahead safely with a full crowd come September.

“The vaccine helps of course, and in the meantime a number of other events around the world are already experimenting with audiences, a lot of information is coming back from that,” he told ALLsportsradio and Motorsport.com.

“To start with, I think you hardly need to instruct the audience anymore. They already understand a lot more. In addition, a lot is currently being learned about how to deal with spectators during events.

“I hope all these factors will come together in such a way that we can roll out our beautiful festival in the normal way – but according to the rules of 2021.

“We should not forget a few things. First of all we have the vaccinations, but on the other hand we also have the number of people who have been infected and of course we also have certain age groups in the Netherlands [that play a smaller role in the spread of the virus].

“If you add all that up, I think there are about six or seven million people already in a safe area. And hopefully that, together with the nicer weather later on, will all have a positive influence on the disappearance of the virus. So I see a lot of reasons to be confident.”

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