Dutch Grand Prix: Zandvoort set to return to the calendar for 2020

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Max verstappen fans
Niki Lauda was the last Dutch Grand Prix winner in 1985, but Dutch driver Max Verstappen has attracted huge numbers of fans filling the grandstands at grands prix

The Dutch Grand Prix is set to return in 2020 after an absence of 35 years.

Confirmation of the return of the historic Zandvoort circuit, which last hosted the race in 1985, is expected on Tuesday.

The race is set to be held on the weekend of 8-10 May, effectively taking the place of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Asked to confirm the deal, F1 boss Chase Carey told BBC Sport: "I don't preview announcements. We'll announce it when we announce it on Tuesday."

F1 bosses are hoping to benefit from the surge in interest in Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, particularly in his home country.

As Verstappen has become one of F1's biggest stars, European races have been attended by huge numbers of Dutch fans, the vast majority wearing orange shirts in the national colours. Zandvoort, which is on the coast close to Amsterdam, is expected to be a sell-out.

Zandvoort will be the second new track to be added to the calendar in 2020, following the announcement of a street race in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

If no races are removed, that would mean a record-breaking 23-race calendar at a time when teams are keen to keep the number at the current 21 or even fewer.

However, five races are out of contract at the end of this season - Britain, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Spain - and F1 insiders said at the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend that at least two and possibly three of them are likely to drop off the schedule.

Italy and F1 have announced that they have reached an "agreement in principle" to continue the race at Monza until 2024, having agreed the cost of the new contract but not yet signed it.

Silverstone is said to be close to securing a new deal, but Germany, Mexico and Spain are vulnerable, and all three could potentially go.

Carey said: "We have a number - five tracks - we have to renew for next year. A few of them we already have agreements in principle. We are having constructive discussions elsewhere. We do have new races coming on the calendar as well.

"There will be a little bit of change and in some degree that's good for the sport, some fresh, exciting, new races."

Doubt has also been cast on the claims last week by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro that a new track in Rio de Janeiro would replace Sao Paulo's Interlagos in 2020.

Interlagos has a contract for 2020 and sources said F1 could not simply ignore it. There have also been questions about the viability of a race in Rio, where the planned track in the Deodoro district does not yet exist.

F1 is trying to establish a second race in the United States to add to the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

They are looking for a dramatic location in an iconic major city. But attempts to hold a street race in Miami that includes the cars crossing a bridge over the sea have foundered because of local opposition.

F1 is now working on a second proposal in a less aesthetically dramatic location near the Miami Dolphins NFL stadium but this will not happen for 2020.

F1 is also in talks in Las Vegas but that is said to be some years away, if it happens at all.


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