Instead, what Zandvoort unleashed since its comeback was a vision of F1’s future: of a venue willing to go the extra mile in delivering entertainment and an exciting package for fans that went far beyond just what was happening on track.
Zandvoort has received acclaim from F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali for providing a breath of fresh air and establishing a standard for contemporary grand prix events.
“I would like to extend my congratulations to the Dutch organizer for introducing a refreshing atmosphere to the European community,” Domenicali explained. “Without intending any disrespect, they have managed to create an extraordinary event despite the limitations of a small track and outdated facilities. They have introduced a new approach that encompasses passionate individuals, a strong sense of community, engaging entertainment, vibrant music, and invigorating energy.”
Domenicali believes that Zandvoort’s triumph lies in effectively combining entertainment, sportsmanship, and fan involvement, all within a vibrant atmosphere fueled by enthusiastic supporters who are eager to cheer for their local hero, Max Verstappen.
“The energy is quite evident,” he stated. “They were the pioneers who boldly exclaimed: observe the music, observe the manner in which everyone was dancing. It was truly a remarkable sight. Furthermore, it has served as a model that has been swiftly adopted in other locations.”
Domenicali believes that Zandvoort perfectly exemplified the type of experience that F1 considers ideal for all grand prix locations.
“I cannot reword”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Certainly, it is undeniable that the Max effect is present and witnessing the orange army in the vicinity is truly exceptional, as they have successfully infused the vibrant atmosphere of a football stadium into a motorsport arena. However, it is important to acknowledge that the promoter operates as a private entity, thus excluding any form of public funding.
Congratulations to those who believed in the project, took the initiative to invest in it, and promoted the event exceptionally.
The reason why the Dutch GP is so significant for Domenicali is that the organizers could have potentially done very little and still succeeded. Verstappen’s achievements in F1 alone would have attracted a full crowd at Zandvoort, even without any additional entertainment. Therefore, the organizers could have done the minimum required and still been successful.
Domenicali greatly appreciates the effort they have put in to create a lively carnival atmosphere for the weekend.
“He stated that it demonstrates the dedication each promoter must exhibit in order to enhance the event’s quality. Given Max’s circumstances, they could easily opt for a ‘wait and see’ approach, which wouldn’t pose any issues.”
However, they did not do so, which once again demonstrates their meticulousness in providing us with the necessary information. From the very beginning, they have maintained regular communication with me, sharing their ideas, proposed packages, and planned initiatives.
Zandvoort not only excels in providing entertainment but also places a strong focus on sustainability.
The Dutch cycling culture and the location of Zandvoort, which makes it difficult to accommodate a large number of cars, led to the implementation of a comprehensive public transport initiative that prioritized sustainability. This initiative proved successful, as only three percent of visitors arrived by car, while 43% used public transport, 37% rode bikes, 5% walked, and 12% utilized multi-person vehicle pick-ups. With a sustainable transport rate of 97% achieved last year, Zandvoort aims to reach 98% by 2023 and ultimately achieve 100% by 2025.
Fans in Zandvoort
Photo by: Erik Junius
Domenicali stated that they were pioneers in addressing specific issues such as sustainability in transportation and logistics. He emphasized the importance of considering the limited space and potential consequences if everyone were to arrive by car.
The utilization of public transportation, along with the presence of 37,000 bicycles, has been an exceptional aspect. It demonstrates the extent of dedication we are striving for in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
There are track lessons as well that F1 has taken from there. Zandvoort’s location in the seaside town meant it was impossible to revamp the circuit by extending it for its F1 return – so that is where the idea of introducing banked turns to provide spectacle and overtaking opportunities came from.
Domenicali believes that this approach can be replicated at future venues as countries compete to be part of the F1 schedule.
“We receive numerous requests for hosting grands prix, and it is important for us to show respect by maintaining a balance between the traditional races and the new ones,” he expressed. “However, it becomes more challenging with traditional tracks due to certain limitations that must be acknowledged. Nevertheless, we are actively considering potential solutions.”
“In other locations where we are currently exploring potential future projects, the knowledge gained from Zandvoort has influenced the development of various ideas, such as incorporating banked corners.”
However, despite Zandvoort’s successful comeback, both Domenicali and race organizers are aware that in the world of F1, there is never a time to become complacent. That is why they are prepared to generate new concepts for the future.
Domenicali views the current event as a valuable chance to meet with the Dutch GP organizers and devise a strategic plan for the future.
Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42, Alex Albon, Williams FW44
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
Domenicali expressed that there will be talks this year to consider future plans. He mentioned the numerous possibilities to enhance the game and the increasing pressure to improve. The aim is to elevate the game to a superior level, so they will collaborate to determine the optimal solution for all involved.
Although Zandvoort has a rich F1 history, Domenicali believes there is much more to look forward to, particularly due to the organizers’ optimistic approach in ensuring the race’s triumph.
“He mentioned that Zandvoort is a track with a long history and deep-rooted customs. However, if these types of venues are executed correctly, they can continue to thrive and hold significance in our contemporary Formula 1 era.”