Dutch Grand Prix returns to Zandvoort for 2020 season
The Formula 1 poster boy Max Verstappen on Tuesday hailed the return of Zandvoort to the Grand Prix circuit after a 35-year absence. Race organisers confirmed that the Dutch Grand Prix will be held at the venue near Amsterdam for three years from 2020.
Niki Lauda won the last Formula 1 race to be held in the Netherlands in 1985. Twelve years after that victory, Verstappen was born to the Dutchman Jos Verstappen and the Belgian Sophie Kumpen in Hasselt in Belgium.
"It's just an iconic, historic track," said Max Verstappen who has taken his father's nationality.
"I've done a few laps in an F1 car at Zandvoort and the track was actually pretty challenging because you have a few banked corners. Some places are very narrow and there's no run off.
"I compare the track a little bit with Suzuka in Japan because it's designed by the same person."
Formula One chief executive Chase Carey said the return of racing to the Netherlands was in line with their policy of respecting the sport's historic roots in Europe while also looking for new venues.
"Next season we will have a brand new street race that will be held in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, as well the return to Zandvoort.
"We've seen a resurgence of interest in Formula 1 in Holland, mainly due to the enthusiastic support for Max Verstappen, as seen from the sea of orange shirts at so many races."
Verstappen's emergence as one of F1's brightest stars was compared to the impact Fernando Alonso made in Spain when he dominated the Grand Prix tracks in 2005 and 2006.
Christian Horner, Verstappen's boss at Red Bull, said: "We see the amount of Dutch fans around the world and it just seems to be growing and growing. I think a Dutch Grand Prix, with the popularity of Verstappen, is going to be immense. I think that's positive for Formula 1."
If none of the existing venues drop out, the addition of Hanoi and Zandvoort will mean a record 23-race season in 2020.