Formula 1 is “very interested” in building on the interest surrounding Max Verstappen by bringing the Dutch Grand Prix back to the calendar.
Officials at the Zandvoort circuit that hosted the Dutch GP sporadically from 1952 until its last appearance in 1985 have suggested talks are ongoing about holding a race there again in future, but as yet there has been no final deal agreed. F1’s commercial managing director Sean Bratches admits it is a country the sport would like to return to, especially amid the support currently being enjoyed by Verstappen.
“We are very interested in racing in Holland,” Bratches 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.”
Dutch broadcaster Ziggo recently extended its contract to show F1 in the Netherlands for a further three years, with Red Bull’s Verstappen enjoying a large following of fans at a number of European races. Bratches says the interest in reviving the Dutch Grand Prix shows Liberty Media’s commitment to protecting F1 in more traditional venues following confirmation of a grand prix in Vietnam in 2020 and plans for a street race in Miami.
“We’re in an extraordinary favorable position I think, in the pole position if you will, in terms of Formula 1 being an attractive product for countries around the world. From a brand standpoint, from a history standpoint our intention is to renew the heritage circuits. We think it’s an important part of Formula 1.
“But at the same time we’re a publicly traded company, we’re a business, we have obligations to our partners and the teams to maximize the investment that they are making into the sport and we’re going to try to balance that with the complexities of some of these negotiations.”
One such negotiation is taking place with the Silverstone circuit after a break clause was activated, meaning next year’s British Grand Prix is the last of the current contract. Bratches reiterated he wants to see the race remain at Silverstone but warned it will not be protected at any cost.
“We’ve said time and again our intention is to race in Silverstone for the next 68 years. But at the same time we are running a business and we are going to make prudent decisions as it relates to running the business and that includes keeping a keen eye on fans’ views and perspectives.”