Max Verstappen

Dutch GP at Zandvoort returns to F1 calendar after three decade hiatus

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This week’s worst keep secret has been officially confirmed — the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort is returning to the F1 schedule after a three-year deal was announced.

The popularity of young Dutch driver Max Verstappen, and his zealously loyal fanbase, will be celebrating the 2020 return of a race that has been long forgotten. The last race to be held at the seaside track was in 1985, with numerous upgrades and modifications required before the FIA could return.

From F1’s official announcement:

Situated not far from the vibrant city of Amsterdam, Zandvoort is a major beach resort in the Netherlands, known for its long beach bordered by magnificent coastal dunes separating the North Sea from the track. The Circuit of Zandvoort has a long history as a Formula 1 venue, and over the coming months, the facility will be rebuilt with help from Zandvoort town council and several other partners. The track and the infrastucture will be modified in order to meet the standards laid out by the FIA in order to host a Formula 1 World Championship event.

When the 2020 race takes place, it will be the 31st Dutch Grand Prix to count as a round of the World Championship. It was first held in 1952, when it was won by a Ferrari, driven by Alberto Ascari, who went on to win the world championship that year. Apart from the Italian, there were a further 19 winners, of which 12 were also world champions. Jim Clark holds the outright record with four wins to his name. The last Dutch Grand Prix took place in 1985 and will return next year as Formula 1 Heineken Dutch Grand Prix 2020.

If the Spanish Grand Prix fails to retain its place on the calendar, this will bring the number of races in 2020 to 22, with the addition of both the Dutch Grand Prix Vietnam Grand Prix.

However, the future of a number of races remains uncertain, with historic venues like Brazil and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in doubt unless deals can be stuck with F1’s commercial rights holders.

Plans for a second United States Grand Prix to be held in Miami were cast into doubt, with the original plans being scrapped by the city. Stakeholders keen to see racing hit the Miami streets remain determined to proceed with the race at an alternative location, but with the momentum stalling it appears a new US race entrant won’t be appearing any time soon.

Mexican GP power rankings

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Mexico wasn’t where the championship was won or lost, but it’s where it was decided. For the third time Hamilton has claimed a championship from outside the podium places, and joins only two others, Fangio and Schumacher, with five or more championships. The greatest brit ever? Surely. Best there has ever been? The next years might just confirm that claim.

Here’s how the power rankings shaped up in Mexico.

Moving on up

Max Verstappen missed pole by inches, but despite only getting three hours sleep on Saturday, he was on top of his game on Sunday. After launching into the lead off the line, he ran a controlled race, continuing the rich form that has seen him outscore everyone apart from Lewis Hamilton in the last six races.

Sebastian Vettel needed to give it everything and hope for a Hamilton failure to keep the championship alive. Although things didn’t all go his way, he suddenly enjoyed good pace and put it to good use against but Hamilton and Ricciardo. 

Stoffel Vandoorne and McLaren will soon be parting ways, largely because “Doff” hasn’t finished in the points since Azerbaijan. Despite falling short compared to his teammate this season, popping into the top ten is a rare glimpse of his talents, which hopefully return to the F1 grid sometime soon.

Backsliding

Brendon Hartley did his hopes of securing a drive with Toro Rosso next year no favours, running in a steady position before coming together with Ocon for which he was handed a five-second penalty and demoted down the grid, letting any hope of scoring points slip through his fingers.

Red Bull’s reliability issues continued to bite Daniel Ricciardo in his already thoroughly chewed hide. Clearly chasing performance over reliability, with more retirements than any driver this season, Ricciardo exasperatedly claimed he was done with his car, doesn’t see the point of racing any more this season and is happy to let Pierre Gasly have his car for the remaining races (which just might be on the team’s mind anyway).

Will Smith fans were in for a treat with the…. actor (what is he these days?) delivering a bewildering congratulations message to Hamilton on winning his championship, after a largely forgettable drive. I’m not saying I’m always in touch with the cultural zeitgeist, but even WTF1 wasn’t feeling this misjudged celebration. Liberty continues to struggle to get the balance right between pushing the envelope and sitting on it.

Have your say

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