Intense work in preparation for Formula 1 raise Circuit Zandvoort to world level
ZANDVOORT (2 December 2019) – The Formula 1 World Championship season has now come to an end, but Circuit Zandvoort is a hive of activity to make the arrival of Formula 1 happen. Some five months before the Formula 1 Heineken Dutch Grand Prix (1-3 May 2020) becomes reality, major activities have already been accomplished at the Dutch national motorsport facility. That became clear during a meeting to inform representatives of national and international media about the current situation.
A plethora of shovels, draglines, trucks, rolling machines and other equipment can be found at and around the circuit. At various places, staff of specialised companies, led by event partner VolkerWessels, are working hard to carry out the necessary activities according to schedule. Tunnels are installed underneath the track, the paddock is levelled and expanded, the lay-out of the circuit is modified at certain places, gravel beds are changed and, undisputedly the most spectacular aspect, bankings are installed as a part of the significant change of two corners – a unique element in Formula 1.
“With these modifications, Circuit Zandvoort becomes the most demanding and most beautiful circuit in Europe, perhaps even in the world,” Jan Lammers, sporting director of the Formula 1 Heineken Dutch Grand Prix, commented. “Coming from Zandvoort myself, but also as a motorsport fan, that is making me quite proud!”
Erik Weijers, the circuit’s chief sporting officer and head of sporting operations of the Grand Prix, looked back upon the process of turning Formula 1’s return to Circuit Zandvoort into reality. “Back in January 2017, Formula One Management made its first visit to Zandvoort. In September 2018, Charlie Whiting, who sadly passed away since, visited the circuit for the first time on behalf of the FIA. A lot of work has been done to make it all happen and progress becomes visible every day.”
Robert van Overdijk, managing director of Circuit Zandvoort and the Formula 1 Heineken Dutch Grand Prix, reported that yesterday, 1 December, the official request for the event permission was submitted to the local authorities in Zandvoort. “Well in time, five months in advance, to enable everyone involved to have a thorough look at it, just like we have worked together with all the authorities in a very close and constructive way in the time prior to submitting the request. Together, we are raising Zandvoort to a world level.”
Rob Langenberg, head of event operations, addressed the logistical aspects of the event, particularly mobility and accessibility. “Of course, the train is our key to success, but the bicycle is crucial as well,” Langenberg said. “We are using vehicle passes to ensure that Zandvoort remains accessible for everybody living, working and staying there as well as for visitors of the Grand Prix.”
To implement the modifications of the track, the circuit worked with Italian agency Studio Dromo that has a vast worldwide experience in this field. “We took Zandvoort’s special character into account, we have maintained it as well as we could and even reinforced it at some points,” Jarno Zaffelli of the Italian agency explained. He emphasised the specific characteristics of the banked corners Hugenholtzbocht and Arie Luyendijkbocht.
Modifications to the circuit are scheduled to be ready in February. They will be followed by the installations. Media interest for today’s meeting was huge, a clear sign reflecting the anticipation for Formula 1’s return to The Netherlands.