Updated: Feb 28
After 36 years, Formula One returns to the Netherlands for the Dutch Grand Prix as round two of the latest triple header comes into sight! Following a farcical Grand Prix in Belgium, can Max Verstappen continue his charge for his first championship in front of his famed Orange Army, or will Sir Lewis Hamilton cause upset for the home hero in enemy ground?
Written by Aiden Hover, Edited by Bruna Brito
Circuit Zandvoort has undergone a fairly severe makeover over the last few years as it modernised for these wide, aero heavy Formula One cars, however, much of the old school charm remains. Through the newly profiled banked turn one, cars funnel up to a tricky tight turn three before a flowing run through a series of fast left/right bends before the sudden plunge of Schevlak. Following the terrifying drop of turn seven, cars enter the tricky understeer heavy complex of turns eight to ten before a short sprint to the newly developed stadium section with only the fast, steeply banked final turn remaining. It’s expected that this impressive spectacle will be tinted a special shade of orange as Max Verstappen’s fans brim the grandstands for Formula One’s return to the Netherlands and Zandvoort.
Having been on and off the calendar since its first race in 1948 until its most recent in 1985, Zandvoort is sure to be the home of some truly legendary Formula One moments – and to that point, it does not disappoint. Back in 1979, fans witnessed incredible images as Gilles Villeneuve suffered a severe puncture on lap 51 and yet was able to limp around the track back to the pits on three and then two wheels as he suffered yet another puncture! Four years prior, a young James Hunt would win his first-ever Formula One race having held of Niki Lauda for 20 laps to take Team Heskeths only Grand Prix win, two years later, however, Hunt will be involved in a coming together with Mario Andretti eliminating both from the race. 1985 saw the final Dutch Grand Prix to date as well as the final race win for the dearly missed Niki Lauda who won the race only one week on from announcing his retirement from Formula One.
What can fans look forward to this year?
Usually, at this point, we would take a brief look at how each team did last time out, however, last weekends race was barely a race and so very little can be taken from it. Instead, we will look at what each team will be looking to achieve from their first visit to Zandvoort!
Mercedes will be hoping to cause upset in very much enemy ground as RedBull look to give their man the best chance possible to win at home in front of his adoring fan base. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas will also hope to perform well as his seat looks ever more at risk. McLaren behind will surely enjoy the orange around the track as they hope to secure their third spot in the constructors. McLaren of course won the last Dutch Grand Prix with Niki Lauda in 1985, though it may be wishful thinking to expect a debut win for Lando Norris – anything can happen in Formula One!
Ferrari too will be looking for a strong race as they risk falling behind their British opponents. Both Alpha Tauri and Alpine have shown strong pace in recent races and so will be hoping for this to continue. Meanwhile, Aston Martin will be simply hoping for a clean weekend as they seem to be allowing mistakes to creep in, despite having a fast car – particularly for narrow circuits such as Zandvoort, so expect AM to run well this weekend.
Further down the grid, Williams is due a painful shot down to reality as they come off the back of their first podium since 2017 albeit in slightly strange circumstances. Although, it cant be taken await from them that they are the only team to score with both cars in both of the last two races as Nicholas Latifi and George Russell extract the most from their lacklustre package. With the sad announcement of Kimi Räikkönen’s retirement, this weekend will be emotional for both the Finn and his Alfa Romeo team who first worked together all the way back in 2001. Fun fact, Kimi’s Formula One debut in 2001 is closer to the last Dutch GP in 1085 than this weekends return to the Netherlands! Regardless of this, they will still be hoping to break that elusive top ten to add to their marginal points tally whilst their American friends in Haas will hoping to finally make it into he top ten.
Be sure not to miss out on Formula One’s much-anticipated return to the flatlands of the Netherlands and be sure too not to miss out on any of the exciting support action from W-series!