Dutch Grand Prix: Zandvoort to stage first Formula 1 race since 1985

Max Verstappen
Dutch driver Max Verstappen is backed by a large number of fans at races around the world, with these supporters cheering him on during the Chinese Grand Prix in April

The Dutch Grand Prix will return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2020 for the first time since 1985.

The race is expected to take place at the historic Zandvoort circuit from 8-10 May. The Spanish Grand Prix was held over that weekend this season.

F1 bosses are hoping to benefit from the surge in interest in Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen.

"A Dutch Grand Prix, with Max's popularity, will be immense," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen drove his Red Bull car at Zandvoort during a Jumbo Racing Day event in 2017

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.

Chase Carey, chairman and chief executive of Formula 1, said: "We're particularly pleased to announce that Formula 1 is returning to race in the Netherlands, at the Zandvoort track.

"From the beginning of our tenure in Formula 1, we said we wanted to race in new venues, while also respecting the sport's historic roots in Europe."

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, although no formal announcements have been made.

The last Dutch Grand Prix was held at Zandvoort in 1985 with McLaren's Niki Lauda winning

The Dutch Grand Prix was first part of the Formula 1 World Championship in 1952 and was held 13 years in a row between 1973 and 1985, but was dropped for the 1986 season.

Jean Todt, president of motorsport's governing body, the FIA, said: "I'm pleased to see that Zandvoort will be part of the proposed calendar for 2020, and thankful for the hard work of Formula 1 to bring the sport back to the Netherlands.

"It's a circuit with a long and impressive history of competition and is a great challenge for drivers, and with the popularity of Max Verstappen I'm sure there will be a huge number of fans in attendance.

"There is now a lot of preparation needed to bring the circuit up to the required safety standards to host a Formula 1 race."

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