F1 in Zandvoort in serious doubt for next year

Zandvoort council has warned it may need a further cash injection to ensure next year’s Dutch Grand Prix can go ahead, but this is unlikely to be as big a hurdle as the impending environmental court battle likely to plague the planners for a GP in Holland next year.

The race circuit and the local council has admitted in its latest budget statement, that a number of costs associated with staging the race were not included in its €7 million estimates, this includes a significant contribution to upgrade the train station to cope with the anticipated flood of Max Verstappen fans.


The council is putting up €4 million towards the cost of the race, with central government contributing €2.35 million and the province of Noord-Hollland providing the rest. Zandvoort has not specified how much it would need to make up the shortfall, but there are questions as to whether the circuit can stump up the remainder.

A bigger problem the organisers face is from an environment body called the Mobilisation for the Environment who are also throwing themselves into the battle against the circuit planners, claiming that the Grand Prix does not have its permits in order. 

According to AD.nl, this litigation puts Formula 1 of Zandvoort further into dire straits, as the environmental organisation goes to court to try and put a stop to the necessary renovations to the circuit to make it suitable to host an  F1 race.

In doing so, the organisation joins the list of nature conservation clubs that have already filed a lawsuit, including the Dune Conservation Foundation, Rest at the Coast, Friends of the Noord-Holland Nature and Environment Federation and Friends of Middenduin.

Environmental activist Johan Vollenbroek, on behalf of Mobilisation for the Environment, says that the Grand Prix would emit a large amount of nitrogen pollution that is alleged to damage the surrounding natural environment, and the existing permit is based on quicksand derived from a previous permit that had already expired in 2006.

Should the courts deem it necessary, the government will have to draw up stricter planning rules and take direct action such as reducing speed limits to curb nitrogen emissions around designated nature conservation areas, obviously making F1 racing rather impossible.

Minister Bruno Bruins (Sport) stated this weekend that the cabinet will do everything in its power to allow the Formula 1 race to continue, despite the problems with nitrogen.

“The whole country is looking forward to it and it will be fantastic to hear the “vroom!” on May 3 next year,” he told WNL op Zondag.

Leaked memos suggest that not all the coalition parties share the minister’s enthusiasm. Gert-Jan Segers, leader of the Christian Union (CU), said the race was ‘not at the top of my wish list’ in the wake of the nitrogen ruling.


Still, F1 and Liberty Media supports Bruins and will try and claim that the overall nitrogen won’t exceed limits when taking into account the fact that extra emissions around the event will be compensated by lower emissions on other days, for example when it’s not possible to race due to the renovation work.

Experts such as professor of environmental law Chris Backes, thinks that F1 will have a hard time to substantiate this in court saying that the nitrogen released during the renovation may be temporary and short-lived, but it does accumulate in the adjacent nature reserve.


There is a good chance that these environmental organisations will succeed in blocking Formula 1 by means of legal proceedings says Sander Lely, a lawyer who was one of the founders of the Climate Case that Urgenda Foundation won from the Dutch state. If not canceled altogether, they will certainly cause F1 a huge delay in bringing the Grand Prix back to Holland.

According to AD.nl:

“The decision to bring Formula 1 to the Netherlands was taken when the Nitrogen Action Programme (PAS) was still in operation. Now we live in a different time.

“The Council of State ruled this spring that the PAS is no good. The extra nitrogen emissions from new activities must not be offset by measures that will only lead to lower emissions in the future. This also applies to Formula 1, according to Lely. The organisation cannot count itself rich by assuming that there will be less emissions around the circuit for the rest of the year.”




Open hostility at Ferrari

Inflated with winning adrenaline, Sebastian Vettel sent a stark message to the smoldering Charles Leclerc with a warning.

“You’re way off your mark if you ever think you’re bigger than this team,” said Vettel after his resounding success at the Formula 1 race in Singapore – and there was little doubt that the addressee of his words was sitting right next to him. His rival, Leclerc, who was severely offended……. READ MORE



Giovinazzi nearly makes contact with crane – Singapore 2019




7 responses to “F1 in Zandvoort in serious doubt for next year

  1. Zandvoort is such a bad idea when you consider the environmental aspects, the fact that there has not been a race there for 35 years, the sand blows across the track and makes the surface slippery, it is close to the coast so the weather is unpredictable and the location is not far from the major population centres of crowded Holland.
    There is only one reason for Zandvoort to be considered and, as soon as he has stopped competing, the Dutch will lose interest in F1 again (they really could not care less about motor racing and have no motor racing history or motor industry…..DAF, Spyker…. anyone?).
    Besides all that, wasn’t it both Liberty and Ecclestone who said that there should be less races in Europe and more around the world?
    Total waste of money and all being pushed by the Jos Verstappen maffia.

    • I don’t know if this is a serious post or a joke. I am glad that construction at Zandvoort will continue after all. The Greens have gone completely insane, trying to block construction of any kind, even apartment complexes, which people need … to actually live.

      Zandvoort has a lot of racing history, including F1. It’s always great to have more races in Europe. Ecclestone is completely insane, and his goal was always to move more races abroad into nouveau riche countries in order to make more money for himself in the short term. However, it has been extremely damaging to F1 in the long run. Most F1 fans aren’t in Thailand, Azerbaijan, or UAE. They’re in Europe and want to see more races on European tracks instead of Tilke’s mickey tracks.

      • You are completely correct that there should be more European races (people can live in Deventer or Groningen or Almelo – they don’t have to make the coastline into a long sea wall of apartment buildings like in Belgium).
        However, the races at Zandvoort were never well attended and I cannot recall seeing any Dutch fans of F1 at race tracks around the world before the arrival of Verstappen. Dutch F1 fans are fickle and will very quickly lose interest in the racing if their one driver has gone – probably to concentrate their attention on football, cycling and speed skating again.
        If you want to have more races in Europe, let’s have a couple more in Italy and the UK where there is a very real passion and history with the sport (even the Germans and the French were lukewarm about their events).

  2. All being pushed by Prince Bernhard van Oranje – Nassau, van Vollenhove, who bought the circuit in 2016 and will see his investment quadruple in value after the neccesary renovations (circuit, infrastructure) have been done in order to host an F1 race.
    All being paid by the taxpayers ofcourse.

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