Zandvoort deemed only viable Dutch Grand Prix option for F1

The Netherlands Sports Council has urged businesses to back the idea of a Dutch Grand Prix, claiming that Formula 1 has made it clear Zandvoort is the only option.

Formula 1 has not raced in The Netherlands since 1985 though the prospect of a return to the country has risen in recent years due to the emergence of Max Verstappen.

Ex-F1 track Zandvoort and current MotoGP host Assen are the only permanent circuits in the country.

An open letter published by the independent Netherlands Sports Council (NLSportraad) on Monday confirmed that Zandvoort Circuit signed a letter of intent with Formula One Management in mid-December.

Last month the Dutch government confirmed that it would like to “facilitate the organisation of Formula 1 events in terms of infrastructure, security, licenses etc” but made it clear that “it would not subsidise these races.”

Following this decision NLsportraad “decided to collect further information” in line with approaches it has taken regarding advice for other sporting events.

According to NLsportraad Zandvoort Circuit is “trying its best to find large sponsor partners” by the end-of-March deadline set by Formula One Management.

Zandvoort Circuit explained that “there are sponsor parties that are interested but their confidence in the business case of Zandvoort might have decreased because the central government chose to only facilitate the plans and not provide subsidy.” The body added that “the confidence of companies increases when the central government is willing to facilitate and invest. Sport events flourish with public-private partnerships.”

It was also noted that Zandvoort Circuit needs to make improvements and “has not received much support from the surrounding cities and the Province of Noord-Holland.”

NLsportraad also revealed that Assen confirmed its business case is complete partly thanks to “a foreign investor who is prepared to vouch for the costs for the [race] fee. In addition Assen has support from the province of Drenthe and the city of Assen.”

NLsportraad stressed it was “not in a position to judge which of the very different business cases is best for the Formula 1 event, the region or Dutch society as a whole”.

But those conclusions were ultimately deemed irrelevant as it claims Formula One Management has “made it clear that Zandvoort is the only candidate in the Netherlands suitable to organise a Formula 1 race.”

It cites Zandvoort’s history and close proximity of big cities and airports as justification for that approach.

NLsportraad’s letter concludes with an appeal to private businesses, commenting “co-operation is crucial: between private and public parties, within the public sector, and between government departments.”

NLsportraad’s open letter was addressed to the Minister of Sport, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs, Parliament, the Provinces of Noord-Holland and Drenthe, the Cities of Zandvoort and Assen, the Circuits of Zandvoort and Assen, and Formula One Management.