New Netherlands COVID-19 Restrictions a Huge Blow to F1 Dutch Grand Prix for 2020
Government leaders in the Netherlands on Tuesday may have locked the door on Zandvoort’s hopes of hosting the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix in 2020.
On Tuesday, the prime minister in the Netherlands announced a ban on large events, including major sporting events, until at least Sept. 1. Prior to the announcement the idea of a midweek race at Zandvoort was even making the rounds, as Formula 1 scrambles to put together a schedule that would include 15-18 races.
The Dutch Grand Prix was originally scheduled for May 3, but there were hopes that the race could be rescheduled. So far, nine races have been postponed or canceled from the 22-race schedule. Only Australia and Monaco are officially off at this point.
After the announcement, race promoter and former F1 racer Jan Lammers said, “We will have to see what possibilities are still offered to us, but I do not think it is likely now that it will be possible this year.
“It is what it is,” he told Dutch morning newspaper De Telegraaf. “At least there is clarity, and I respect the level of assessment by the experts.” But the management of Formula 1 and the FIA are now facing an almost impossible task to make something of a calendar for this year.”
Lammers added that Zandvoort will not be among those circuits willing to host a race without the spectators.
“That is impossible for us, and we do not want to present vague plans,” Lammers said. “We want to roll out the event as we envisaged, and we are ready to activate it. But it is the virus that rules. Singapore also thought they had handled everything right, and now they regret having relaxed the rules.
“It’s a shame, of course, but again we are taking a step back,” the former F1 driver also told the publication Formule 1. “It’s not as though we are the only organizers in this situation.”
Circuit director Robert van Overdijk is similarly pessimistic, even about the prospect of a race sometime after the new Dutch ban (hopefully) ends in September.
“We would have a duty to think about such a request, but my personal opinion? I don’t think everything will suddenly be free again after 2 September,” he said.
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