Zandvoort seek early decision on September race | Planet F1

Dutch Grand Prix organisers want a final decision to be made by July 1 about whether their race on September 5 can go ahead.

Zandvoort is due to return to the Formula 1 calendar for the first time since 1985, but the health pandemic prevented that from happening last season.

The venue in the Netherlands now forms part of a European triple-header on the calendar which starts with the Belgian Grand Prix a week earlier and the Italian Grand Prix immediately after the Dutch.

However, Zandvoort, who have put in a lot of redevelopment work over the last few years, have long maintained they only want a race to be held in front of a full house, due to the popularity of local hero Max Verstappen.

Organisers are not preparing for a delay to the race, even if that would be possible on a packed schedule in the second half of 2021, and insist they need a minimum two-month lead-up to ensure all plans are in place.

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“That date [September 5] is our dot on the horizon,” Robert van Overdijk, the Zandvoort CEO, told Formula 1 magazine, quoted by Formule1.nl.

“The most important thing is that we keep our pants on. The operating model has changed because of corona. The real costs around the grand prix begin when you start building up.

“Look at Australia last year – that was cancelled at the last minute and they were faced with enormous costs. So you want clarity before then.

“If not, you have to consider whether you want to risk building up. But we don’t think it will come to that – there will be clarity in time.”

From an economic perspective, it will be important for Zandvoort to host as many spectators as possible and Van Overdijk repeated previous calls that if a full house was not possible, the circuit would seek financial assistance from Formula 1.

“Without going into exact figures, you don’t earn your money as a sports event with the first 10,000 spectators but the last 10,000,” he added. “If there is less audience, someone has to help.”

Van Overdijk insisted he is refusing to contemplate another year in which the Dutch Grand Prix has to be wiped from the calendar.

“We daydream a lot in the Netherlands,” he said. “Let’s just say that one way or the other, the race will be held in September. If not, then at another time. But the race is coming.”

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