The Dutch Grand Prix will be returning to the Formula 1 calendar after an absence of more than three decades following the announcement of a three-year deal to host the race at Zandvoort from 2020.
Talks have been ongoing about a return to race in the Netherlands as a result of the popularity of home driver Max Verstappen, and Zandvoort publicly stated it was close to an agreement on numerous occasions. A contract has now been confirmed, and Formula 1 said in a statement that the track and infrastructure will be modified in order to host a world championship event for the first time since 1985.
“We are particularly pleased to announce that Formula 1 is returning to race in the Netherlands, at the Zandvoort track,” F1 CEO Chase Carey said. “From the beginning of our tenure in Formula 1, we said we wanted to race in new venues, while also respecting the sport’s historic roots in Europe.
“Next season therefore, we will have a brand new street race that will be held in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, as well the return to Zandvoort after an absence of 35 years; a track that has contributed to the popularity of the sport all over the world.
“In recent years, we’ve seen a resurgence of interest in Formula 1 in Holland, mainly due to the enthusiastic support for the talented Max Verstappen, as seen from the sea of orange at so many races. No doubt this will be the dominant color in the Zandvoort grandstands next year.”
While Verstappen enjoys fanatical support, Zandvoort itself needs modernization to be able to host the race, and FIA president Jean Todt said significant work is required over the coming year.
“I am pleased to see that Zandvoort will be part of the proposed calendar for the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship, and thankful for the hard work of Formula 1 to bring the sport back to the Netherlands,” Todt said. “It is a circuit with a long and impressive history of competition and is a great challenge for drivers, and with the popularity of Max Verstappen I’m sure there will be a huge number of fans in attendance.
“There is now a lot of preparation needed to bring the circuit up to the required safety standards to host a Formula 1 race, and we will work towards this together with Formula 1, KNAF – the Dutch ASN – and the circuit organization.”
The Dutch GP could potentially take the place of the Spanish Grand Prix on the calendar, with last weekend’s race in Barcelona having been the final one of the current contract.