Work is ongoing for the coming Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort, a race that is of course eagerly anticipated by Max Verstappen F1 fans.
YouTube has proven to be invaluable for Formula 1 fans who like to keep tabs on the latest F1 circuit being built for the coming 2020 season. TJ13 has embedded some interesting drone footage below YouTube uploads of the circuit in its current state.
Also, we’ve translated an article by Joost Smedema written for the Dutch publication nos.nl, the reporter who has interviewed the circuit’s architect Jarno Zaffelli.
Architect Zaffelli: ‘Building Circuit Zandvoort is like playing in the sand’.
by Joost Smedema
He has experience with circuits all over the world, Renovated Imola and Silverstone among others.
There’s no lack of experience at Jarno Zaffelli, who is renovating the Zandvoort circuit with his company Dromo Circuit Design.
After a period of almost 35 years without the Dutch Grand Prix, Formula 1 will return to Zandvoort in May 2020. But for the time being there are no F1 cars to be seen, only excavators, construction equipment and dozens of construction workers.
“It’s not a very difficult job, because it’s mainly sand here”, laughs Zaffelli, looking out over a gaping gap between the Kumho curve and the Arie Luyendijk curve, the last two of the track.
The asphalt in between has been scraped away, concrete tunnel sections lie on the earth and are hoisted into place between metre-high piles of sand.
Winter weather can slow down work
“It reminds me of when I used to play in the sand.
“At Silverstone it was harder, because the surface was harder and we had much less time. The only thing that can throw a spanner in the works here is the winter weather. But that can only slow down the asphalting.”
In 1985 Niki Lauda was the last winner in the dunes of North Holland, a location with a rich Formula 1 history.
Only nine other circuits in the world organised more grand prix than Zandvoort, all of which were on the F1 calendar in 2019.
In the Formula 1-less decades, the circuit has changed a lot, but in the coming months it still has to be rebuilt with all the power it has.
“I can’t name two or three places on the circuit where we’re not working and that’s necessary”, says director Robert van Overdijk.
The most drastic renovations will be carried out in turns three and fourteen, the Hugenholz curve and the Arie Luyendijk curve.
“These will be bowl bends, which we know from Indianapolis and Daytona”, says Jan Lammers, sports director of the Dutch GP.
“But those turns are straight and these are progressive”, which means they only get steeper to the outside.
“We know that from bobsleighing.”
Searching for the right adjustment – No Formula 1 circuit in the world has a curve, let alone two. Lammers:
“It requires a different way of thinking and a different tuning of the car. With a perfect setup for a corner you have a problem in a slower corner. Drivers have to find a compromise, that will be the challenge.”
In those bends the hardest work for the builders on the track will be in the coming months, Zaffelli thinks.
“The asphalting of those corners with a steep gradient will be the hardest, because the machines normally don’t do that.”
Eighty thousand temporary seats In February the work should be completed, in early April the organisation will start with the construction of temporary stands, a total of eighty thousand chairs should be added.
“We also hope to organize some local events to test things,” says Lammers, who is not worried about the outcome and, like Van Overdijk, is looking proudly at the construction of one of the two pedestrian tunnels.
“In the end, we are busy moving sand,” says the track director. “Now we’re demolishing a lot before we can build anything.”