Zandvoort in line to replace Barcelona on 2020 F1 schedule

Zandvoort is being lined up by Liberty to replace Barcelona as the first non-flyaway race of the 2020 Formula 1 season, Motorsport.com has learned.

Zandvoort in line to replace Barcelona on 2020 F1 schedule
Listen to this article

In the wake of Max Verstappen’s success momentum has been building for the World Championship to return to the Netherlands for the first time since the 1985 event. Assen had also been in the frame to host a Dutch Grand Prix.

A senior source told Motorsport.com in Baku last weekend that a contract has been now agreed between the F1 organisation and the Zandvoort promoter, but it has not yet been signed, as final details are still to be sorted out.

If as expected Spain drops off the 2020 calendar it would allow Liberty to put Zandvoort into the early May slot, ahead of the Monaco GP.

Barcelona is one of five races whose contracts expire after this season, along with Silverstone, Hockenheim, Monza and Mexico City.

All face financial challenges, but the Spanish event is widely regarded as the most vulnerable after losing government support. The absence of Fernando Alonso will be an ongoing blow to ticket sales, unless the double World Champion makes a surprise return to the grid.

The first part of the 2020 calendar is already congested, with the current run of four races in Australia, Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan set to be joined by an April race in Vietnam next year. Chase Carey is understood to have discussed possible solutions to the logjam in a meeting with team bosses in Baku.

Zandvoort first hosted a World Championship race in 1952, and was a regular fixture on the calender until 1985, missing only four seasons during that time.

In its later years it was held at the end of August, in the slot now occupied by Spa. However, in the early years the race was always run in May or June, and it was even the opening event of the season in 1962.

The circuit will require a huge amount of work to bring its facilities up to standard, but once a Grand Prix is officially confirmed the plan is for it to be completed in time for a May date.

The late Charlie Whiting inspected the venue last autumn on behalf of the FIA, but only from the perspective of the actual circuit, rather than paddock and spectator facilities.

“I think there’s great potential there in Zandvoort,” he explained in October. “A few things need to be changed there, and there’s a great willingness to change.

“But I think it’s rather too early to be talking about that. They’re coming back to us with some proposals, and we’ll see purely from a circuit point of view – nothing to do with the commercial elements of it – but from a circuit safety point of view, I think it could be done.

“There would be a nice long straight good enough to use DRS well, and you’d maintain the historic elements of the circuit as well. I think it would be a very nice circuit.

“I went to look at it from a safety point of view. Could the track be modified to cope with modern F1 cars? That’s all. Now how big the paddocks are, access, where you are going to put spectators, is not something that I would get involved in normally.”

Asked recently about Zandvoort, where he raced in F3, Lewis Hamilton described the track as “awesome” - but conceded that passing was difficult.

“It was an awesome track when I was younger. There wasn’t any overtaking there, so I don’t know how that will be different.

“I don’t know if they’ve changed the track, but it was an incredible track to drive in F3, but as I said, you couldn’t overtake back then, but with DRS zones, I don’t know.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing with the F1 Show

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing with the F1 Show

Photo by: WTCR

shares
comments
Brawn defends Ferrari's Baku qualifying tyre strategy
Previous article

Brawn defends Ferrari's Baku qualifying tyre strategy

Next article

Monza edges closer to new five-year F1 deal

Monza edges closer to new five-year F1 deal
Load comments
What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022