Zandvoort seals return to F1 calendar

Formula One has today (Tuesday) confirmed that the motor-racing championship will return to the Netherlands for the first time since 1985, with Zandvoort added to the calendar for the 2020 season.

An agreement, which will run for at least three years, has been signed between Formula One and the Dutch Grand Prix (DGP) – a partnership formed by SportVibes, TIG Sports and the Circuit Zandvoort.

Fuelled by the rapid rise of Dutch driver Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing, F1 has been keen to return the sport to the Netherlands with Zandvoort having long been linked with a deal. A major beach resort, Zandvoort hosted 30 Formula One races from 1952 to 1985.

However, there have been concerns over how the circuit will able to handle modern-day F1, and Formula One stressed that the facility will be rebuilt over the coming months with help from Zandvoort town council and several other partners. The track and the infrastructure will be modified in order to meet the standards laid out by motorsport’s world governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), in order to host a world championship event.

Dutch brewing giant Heineken, one of the longstanding global partners of Formula One, will be title sponsor of the event in 2020.

Chase Carey, chairman and chief executive of Formula One, said: “From the beginning of our tenure in Formula One, 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 as 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 One 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 colour in the Zandvoort grandstands next year.”

Jan Lammers, the DGP’s sporting director, added:“To meet the wishes of Formula One and the required standards of the FIA the circuit and infrastructure will be modernised within a few areas, with the work completed well ahead of the race in 2020. In addition, the municipality of Zandvoort has recently invested heavily to improve access to the municipality and the circuit.”

A race date has not been confirmed for the 2020 Dutch GP, but it is expected to take the slot currently filled on the calendar by the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. The Circuit de Catalunya’s race contract expired following this year’s Spanish GP at the weekend, and it is one of a number of venues whose future is uncertain at present.

Britain, Germany, Italy and Mexico also currently have deals that are due to end after this year’s races. Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi will host a F1 race for the first time in April 2020 after agreeing a deal back in November.

In other news, Formula One has agreed a licensing deal which makes Designer Parfums the championship’s first ever official perfume partner. The news follows February’s announcement that Formula One had agreed a partnership with brand management company CAA-GBG Global Brand Management Group, with the venture to focus on growing the sport’s global audience and improving the overall fan experience.

Dilesh Mehta, chairman and chief executive of Designer Parfums, said: “Our ambition is to build a fragrance brand that merges both a highly legitimate approach to the perfume world with the core values of Formula One.

“We are working very hard to do this differently, and are willing to take risks, just like the sport does, from the way we develop the most amazing fragrances, to the concept and the way to market it, from the bottle to the packaging. We want to make sure fans and consumers feel a strong connection to what Formula One stands for.

“For this, we have commissioned the visionary designer Ross Lovegrove to help us translate this spirit aesthetically and deliver a design that marries technology, new materials with breakthrough packaging.”