We were invited to be part of the the second media update day at Circuit Zandvoort, to see with our own eyes the progress that’s being made. Besides an update about the work on the track, there was also an update on the artist lineup with the first artists being announced. It was a typical Dutch day with grey clouds and a bit of rain drooling over the track. Let’s hope for better weather in the first weekend of May.
Last update was in the media centre and in Bernie’s Bar & Kitchen, both located at the pit building. This time the update was at the so called ‘Dutch Grand Prix Founders Lounge’. This building, located just after the Hugenholtz corner, is actually the old beach lounge of Bloomingdale beach club. With Bloomingdale wanting a new building, Zandvoort came up with a good use and installed it at the track. Let’s see this as a bit of recycling, good job Circuit Zandvoort! And totally in line with the Formula 1 committing to be more sustainable and the Dutch GP claiming to be the most sustainable Grand Prix on the planet.
First director Robert van Overdijk talks us through the progress that has been made last month. Van Overdijk starts with telling how unique this Grand Prix will be at the dunes, pointing out the post of Daniel Ricciardo who jokingly posted a photo on instagram telling he was already preparing for the banking at Zandvoort. “This shows how special it is what we are doing here at Zandvoort” Van Overdijk continues. “Drivers are so excited to make their first meters on this track in the dunes.”
All the tunnels are now covered with sand now and the corners are ‘in profile’. The special FIA approved safety fencing are being installed and the track is really coming near completion.
Will everything be ready in time?
Not a question Van Overdijk gets nervous about, he calmly explains: “We are mostly building up already. The track will be finished at the end of February, when it can be used again for the first events. Even if we encounter some delay, for instance if it does start freezing suddenly (which we don’t expect), there is still plenty of space in our planning.
Are all permits approved?
Van Overdijk tells “All permits concerning the renovations of the track are approved. The event permit is still to be approved by the township of Zandvoort, but we don’t expect a big hassle there.” Last Monday night there was a consultation evening with the citizens of Zandvoort and most of them were very positive about an event of world class coming to their town again.
Jan Lammers takes over the microphone and it is always inspiring to hear this man talk. He starts by telling how good it feels for him and see all young minds be so creative and make everything ‘come together’. Both racing wise and the very special event that is being created here.
“As a driver you want to win an event that matters in the world, like Monaco”
– Jan Lammers
Lammers compares Zandvoort to Monaco as he states that as a driver, you want to win an event that matters. Not with so much words he places Zandvoort in a list of prestigious races like Monaco, the Indy 500 and Le Mans. “It will be very special for drivers with the Orange Army coloring all the dunes orange”.
Jan Lammers tells about the Tarzan corner that has a changed pitlane exit. The exit was just before the corner and will now be at the point coming out of the Tarzan corner. The people in the Paddock Club will have a great view from above on the cars exiting the pitlane.
If you can overtake at Zandvoort in an F1 car? “We’ll only know in May” Jan answers, “but I think there are a lot of opportunities created with the changes to the track. At the Hugenholtz corner you can take a different line, to make sure you have a better exit towards the Hunzerug. The one that keeps is foot down at the Scheivlak will win epic battles. At the Hans Ernst corner you can overtake, at the Luyendyk corner you can go in the corner together and overtake on the main straight. It is not only a banked corner, but it will also go up and down, this will absolutely be sensational. I really want to hear the commentary of the one who takes pole on Saturday.”
Jan can talk for hours about his beloved track, but it is time for Imre van Leeuwen to tell something more about what the organization itself calls ‘The Ultimate Race Festival’. “We want this to be more than race” Van Leeuwen starts. “It should really give you that festival feeling with 3 days full of motorsports, accompanied by great artists and music.
There is a new identity created for the event with the flow of the dunes and the national color orange in it, to give this Grand Prix its own look and feel. “More than 90% of the tickets has been sold to Dutch fans, but also for foreign visitors this will be a spectacle to experience.”
Super Friday is the day that is sponsored by Jumbo Supermarkets. Jumbo really helped the track with the Jumbo Racedagen to load the event and prepare for the F1 and let Circuit Zandvoort show to whom it concerned that they can handle a big load of fans in a few days.
“Jan Lammers: The Friday will be very special, in the May vacation. A real family day and give the new generation a possibility to come in contact with the sport.”
Saturday is qualifying day, so the question is ‘Who takes pole’ and keeps his foot down where others don’t even dare to. Great to see the Formula 1 drivers take their cars to the limit, with only two sessions on Friday and one on Saturday on which they could practice. The images of Zandvoort covered in orange will be transmitted all over the world. They will see a sea of orange and a great racing spectacle unfolding on the track.
Since Liberty Media stepped into Formula 1 there have been a lot of improvements to the Fanzone. Liberty will bring their whole set, meaning that there will be a large merchandise store, F1 Pitstop challenges and a sim battle. The new paddock club building will be provided in the Tarzan corner, a three story building offering the best view on the track. You will pay a fair share to own such a ticket, but it must be said that you will get a unique experience in return.
There will also be a 538 sponsored camping, situated next to the track on the sporting fields. Tickets will be sold in combination with bronze tickets. In a festival like setting, as you can see at Lowlands for instance, but also at the Austrian GP.
Shell will help Zandvoort to be more sustainable with bio fuels for aggregates and hydrogen busses.
“In the beginning people thought a paint job would be enough for the track, but nothing less, it will be a full international event”
– Imre van Leeuwen, Director SportVibes
Do you want to buy tickets? You still can via the links below:
Keep following us for more updates about the Heineken Dutch Grand Prix at Circuit Zandvoort!