The Dutch Grand Prix has become the fourth race to be officially canceled in 2020, with the returning event not willing to be rescheduled behind closed doors.
The opening 10 rounds of the season have either been canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the race at Zandvoort called off a number of months ago having originally been scheduled for early May. At the time the race was postponed, but recent draft calendars have not included a new slot and the organizers have now confirmed it will not take place for 2021.
The Dutch Grand Prix organizing company said it “has had to conclude that it is no longer possible to hold a race with fans present this year. Therefore, it has been decided that the race will not take place this season.”
Former F1 and sportscar racer Jan Lammers, the sports director for the race, said the possibility of holding the Dutch GP without fans was analyzed, but as a returning event expecting a significant crowd supporting Max Verstappen, the decision was taken to wait until the situation allows spectators.
“We were completely ready for this first race and we still are,” Lammers said. “An unbelievable achievement has been made thanks to all the fans, the companies and the governments involved.
“We and Formula 1 have investigated the potential to hold a rescheduled race this year without spectators, but we would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula 1 in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands. We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year.”
The announcement from the Dutch Grand Prix comes as F1 gets ready to outline its latest calendar for the European season. A formal statement is likely to come at the start of next week, but it is understood the uncertainty regarding the British Grand Prix has led to a new approach that will see eight races in 10 weeks to get the season started.
The current plans are for two races in Austria followed by a round in Hungary, then a one-week gap before another tripleheader comprised of two races at Silverstone and one in Spain. After a second weekend off, the doubleheader of Spa and Monza will still take place on their original dates of August 30 and September 6 respectively.