After witnessing a gala performance by Max Verstappen at the Belgian GP, Formula 1 returns this weekend precisely with the home race of the reigning world champion and championship leader with some open questions. The Dutch GP layout is quite different from that of Spa-Francorchamps, so it would be a surprise to see a similar dominance to last weekend’s.
This year’s race in the Netherlands will feature two novelties. There is a zone of “false” gravel at turn 12. In fact, resin was applied to the first meter of the exhaust area, making it rigid. The idea is to make the drivers lose time if they go off the track, as they will have less grip on that stretch, but don’t spread dirt on the track.
And the other novelty, which will be tested on the Friday of free practice, is the possibility for the pilots to use the mobile rear wing already in the last corner, which is quite steep. If this is deemed safe after the drivers test, it will greatly increase the chance of overtaking in Sunday’s race.
How to follow the Dutch GP:
Friday, September 2
Free Practice 1, 7:30am to 8:30am: BandSports
Free Practice 2, 11am to 12pm: BandSports
Saturday, September 3
Free Practice 3, 7am to 8am: BandSports
Classification, from 10 am to 11 am: TV Bandeirantes/BandSports (broadcast starts at 10:35 am)
Sunday, 5th of September
Race, from 10 am: TV Bandeirantes and BandNewsFM (broadcast starts at 9:30 am)
Number of laps: 72
DRS – 2 zones
Zone 1: after turn 10
Zone 2: last corner (there will be a test in free practice) and pit straight
Available tires: C1 (hard), C2 (medium) and C3 (soft)
Holland track features
The Zandvoort track is short and with a lot of work for the tires at all times, so you need to take some load off of them on set-up, while using a higher load of downforce. It is also a track for more agile cars, due to the quick changes of direction. And that rewards cars with good traction. Thus, it presents a different challenge for riders compared to Spa.
The Dutch GP stage is a curious circuit. Sometimes it’s Silverstone, with turns that generate a force of up to five times gravity, as is the case with 1 and 11, the two that come right after the DRS zones. But it also has its Monaco side, as it is very narrow, meaning it is difficult to find a place to overtake. And it has lots of elevation changes and some blind turns.
It will be interesting to see how the new F1 cars perform on the Dutch track, as it was difficult to overtake last year on the track’s return to the championship. A good part of the overtaking (71%) was done in the first corner, with the help of the DRS, and there were 21 maneuvers performed in total after the first lap.
Facts about the Dutch GP
It is an old track, built in the post-war period, which had a junction between normal streets and others made specifically for racing, which was normal at the time. But Zandvoort has always been different because, unlike its contemporaries such as Spa-Francorchamps, it was a short track, as it is today, just over 4km long.
There are two versions for the name of the most famous corner on the circuit, Tarzan. The most popular was that when the track was built in 1948, a man whose nickname was Tarzan only agreed to give up his garden plot if he won the name of the curve. But the version also circulates that, in fact, it was a machine used to make the circuit that had that nickname.
It was at the Zandvoort track that Niki Lauda won for the last time in Formula 1, in 1986. The Austrian held his then-McLaren teammate Alain Prost: the two arrived less than three tenths apart. And third place was Ayrton Senna, still with Lotus.