The owner of the Zandvoort circuit has rubbished claims a second Dutch Grand Prix could be added to the Formula 1 2023 calendar.
As Dutchman Max Verstappen’s prominence in F1 rose, so did the popularity of the sport back in his home country. It had been 34 years since the last grand prix was held in the country before its return in 2021.
The sky was practically orange as Dutch fans, equipped with orange flairs, poured into the track to support their home star who went on to win the race on his way to his maiden World Championship.
The Circuit Zandvoort was added to the calendar initially in 2020, later cancelled because of the COVID pandemic, in a contract that runs for three years with the possibility of another two added on to that.
But shortly before last year’s event, the group behind the Assen circuit in the north east of the Netherlands, along with chairman of the Dutch Grand Prix Foundation Jos Vaessen, claimed that a second grand prix in the country for 2023 was logical.
“One race in the spring and one race in the autumn,” Vaessen told Dagblad van het Noorden.
“We get a lot of questions from the motorsport world about why Assen is not getting a Formula 1 race. From former drivers and also from the circle of FOM [Formula One Management].”
However, this idea has been squashed by Prince Bernhard of Orange-Nassau, a member of the Dutch Royal Family and the owner of the track, who said that the deal with Formula 1 is exclusively with them.
“Formula 1 is with us, that exclusivity is contractually agreed. If we would stop using it, everything would be available to everyone again,” he told Formule1.nl. “But we are now mainly focused on the upcoming Grand Prix.”
Max Verstappen wins in front of his adoring home fans! 🏁
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 5, 2021
The prince also reflected on the first grand prix at the track and said it went so well that it became a “benchmark for other circuits.”
“Of course the first race went amazingly well,” he said. “And after that we were set up a bit as the benchmark for other circuits.
“The momentum with Max is bizarre. We have never had such a talent in the Netherlands. And regardless of whether he is now World Champion, or could go for the World Championship at the time, a Grand Prix Formula 1 is the biggest event that you can get in the Netherlands as a sport.
“I also think it’s just very good for the Netherlands and I think it’s cool that we were able to do this.”
Formula 1 returns to Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix on September 4.