Questions Abound as Zandvoort Returns to F1 Calendar in 2020

Formula 1 announced on Tuesday that the Dutch Grand Prix will return to the F1 calendar in 2020. This will be the first time since 1985 that Zandvoort will host a race weekend in the premier open-wheel competition. The agreement, according to Formula 1’s announcement, will run for three years. Although there is bound to be anticipation around its return, considering that Max Verstappen is extremely popular amongst his compatriots, a great deal of hesitancy has developed over whether the track is fit to handle the modern F1 cars.

The first thing that fans will notice in the track video of Max Verstappen’s lap around the circuit is just how narrow the track surface is. There certainly does not look to be a great deal of opportunities where drivers can attempt overtakes. Just as we saw last weekend at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the drivers continue to have an arduous time attempting overtakes on circuits with sweeping corners and few slow turns. Monaco is another location that suffers from dull racing, due to the difficult and tight nature of the track layout.

A enlightening video produced by Chain Bear in conjunction with Autosport highlighted that the trailing cars continue to be plagued by poor downforce through sweeping corners caused by turbulent air and therefore forces a driver to battle understeer. Overall, the constructors will unlikely be able to improve the cars’ performances behind competing drivers until the 2021 regulations are in place, which will hopefully drastically improve overtaking chances. Thankfully, Zandvoort may only have to suffer one year with the current regulations before becoming a more tantalizing spectacle.

Holland was bound to be a destination for a Formula 1 race. Dutch supporters have been one of the better traveled spectators across the calendar. Max Verstappen’s infectious personality accompanied by his entertaining racing style all but forced Formula 1 to seize the opportunity. Liberty Media have openly stated the desire to increase the number of races on the calendar, especially in Europe.

Mercedes reserve driver, Esteban Ocon, was on record last year stating,

“In DTM we had DRS. DTM is a car you can follow closer compared to F1 and already there [Zandvoort] it was hard to pass.”

The FIA will undoubtedly look for ways to increase overtaking opportunities in the months prior to the circuits return. Regardless, it was worth the risk for Formula 1. Liberty Media recognizes that there is a need to increase close racing as this year has done little to dispel the concerns of fans and teams. Adding another circuit that does not seem offer close racing, will only force the FIA and Formula 1 to be aggressive in their push for better racing.

Photo Credit-Unsplash: Kevin Langlais

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