The Heineken Dutch Grand Prix organization and Formula One Management have agreed to extend the contract for another two years in Formula 1 in the Netherlands. After 2023, there will be races in Zandvoort in 2024 and 2025 anyway. “Of course we are very happy and satisfied, but it was not an easy decision.”
On top of the originally agreed three-year contract term, the Zandvoort Grand Prix has the final go-ahead for two more races, in 2024 and 2025. Two-time world champion Max Verstappen and the arrival of Nyck de Vries as Dutch Formula 1’s second driver. A piece of cake, but the organization has confirmed it several times in recent months.
“Of course we are very satisfied and happy where we are now. It was not an easy decision,” said GP Director Robert van Overijk. “Rising costs and economic uncertainty are a concern. Just like the competition from other countries and big cities. But the support from the business community and the growing demand from fans, both from the Netherlands and abroad, will be crucial, at least for the next three releases.”
Fan interest was not an issue in the negotiations. Tickets for 2023 are already completely sold out, with 1.5 million orders, and interest has been high again. “The Dutch Grand Prix has quickly established itself on the calendar as a crowd favourite,” said F1 boss Stefano Domenicali, who has seen the sport change after Zandvoort returned to the F1 calendar. “The sold-out GPs in the past two years have raised the bar in terms of organisation, leisure and sustainability, and we are delighted to expand our relationship. Formula 1 racing is in great demand, so this is testament to what the team has done to get Zandvoort on the calendar through 2025.”
Call it relationship management. Zandvoort is not just a pit stop on the F1 calendar, the seaside resort is also striving to be the F1 event of the future with many green and sustainable initiatives. This is why sporting director Jan Lammers once again describes it as “unique” that Zandvoort, despite massive competition from the top (rich) sites, simply remains on the calendar among world cities such as Las Vegas, Monaco and Sao Paulo. And as we say internally, so are we Ready for tomorrow. We must and want to create the F1 event of the future that is not necessarily bigger, but better, more intense, more experience, more sustainable and more inclusive, says Lammers.
While it is still raining praises from the top of the sport, the collaboration closer to home with Zandvoort municipality has been somewhat more difficult since the arrival of a new board of directors. Recent research shows that the Dutch Grand Prix in 2021 resulted in €22.3m of extra expenses in Zandvoort and €44.5m in the entire Amsterdam metropolitan area. The economic impact in the region is expected to be even higher with the number of visitors this year increasing by 30%.
Despite these impressive figures, the new council is now considering whether it could also impose an entertainment tax of a few euros on Grand Prix tickets in order to ‘pay for the increased running costs’ and not make the people of the seaside village pay the costs. That hospitality for events and tourism. This idea would of course mean a major financial setback for the GP organisation, which until now had always heard from local, regional and national governments that it had to fend for itself financially.
“Of course it’s not done yet, but I have to say I’m shocked by this plan,” Lammers responds to the hometown colleague’s thought. “If you see the contradiction that we work in a market where there is a lot of competition with countries where governments have a lot of money left to race and that we have prepared everything without government support, then I hope that the municipality will come to his senses. They are thinking now: we also want to benefit But the assumption that a tenner can be added to the tickets is, in our opinion, very short-sighted.
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