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Exclusive: Zandvoort endorses unorthodox F1 approach to keep Dutch GP

Robert van Overdijk, the general director of Circuit Zandvoort, has not ruled out the possibility of calendar rotation if the Dutch Grand Prix is extended past the 2025 F1 season, he told RacingNews365 in an exclusive interview.

Verstappen Zandvoort
Interview
To news overview © XPBimages

General director of Circuit Zandvoort, host of the Dutch Grand Prix, Robert van Overdijk has not ruled out having the race as part of a rotation, with the event up for renewal after the 2025 F1 season.

In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365, he said that whilst F1 will ultimately decide, Zandvoort is open to both semi-permanent calendar status or being an annual race, depending on how many European events the series wants to have per season.

"They [FOM] are the ones who ultimately decide," Van Overdijk explained, speaking about Formula One Management (F1's commercial rights holder), when discussing the viability of F1 holding a Dutch race long-term.

"I've called that out a couple of times. The FOM has to make a choice about how many European circuits remain on the calendar. 

"If they come to the conclusion that there is room for Zandvoort, coupled with a rotation race, then I think we can find a fine mode in that. If they feel that Zandvoort should remain on the calendar annually, we have another conversation."

Financial viability

The circuit hosted the Dutch Grand Prix between the championship's inaugural season in 1950 and 1985, save for four seasons, as a result of budgetary issues. However, the track fell from the calendar after that point until it was revived following the success of Max Verstappen in F1.

Originally due to return in 2020, the event had to wait an extra year as a result of COVID-19, but has proven to be a success since its comeback in 2021. Home hero Verstappen has taken victory at each of the three races so far.

However, Van Overdijk is quick to highlight that any agreement has to be affordable, with the event at Zandvoort not currently financially supported by the Dutch Government.

"Of course it has to be feasible, especially with our grand prix without government support directly in our budget. That means paying the receipt yourself," he said.

"If you can find a mode somewhere that meets the conditions, whether it's an annual race or a biennial race, then as far as we're concerned it's fine to talk about."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Timeline and setting a new standard

Despite being forward-thinking and open to adapting to what would be a seldom-seen approach to the F1 calendar, Van Overdijk does not expect the event's future to be resolved in the next couple of months.

"Nothing is impossible. We still have ambitions and we didn't become promoter of the year for nothing, so apparently the FOM is also satisfied with the way we are doing," he pointed out.

"Then at least we are in a positive position. I expect that somewhere towards the Dutch Grand Prix it will be known what it will eventually be. 

"I don't think any sooner, although you never know in Formula 1. There are always a lot of stories going around, but I don't see why it's going to be known within one or two months already."

The Zandvoort general director feels the circuit has proven itself, underscoring the success of the past three seasons - something he believes other grand prix have drawn upon.

"I think we have set a benchmark with the mobility plan. We have provided a blueprint for other circuits," he stated.

"I think you see that in part also in the way Las Vegas and Miami are organised, but also how the Belgian Grand Prix is developing. 

"It's not that we're trying to copy each other. We inspire each other. Without patting ourselves on the back, I really think we have been an inspiration to other Grands Prix."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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