Formula 1: 10 Interesting facts ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix

Formula 1’s vacation period is nearly over and ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, here are some interesting facts

Zandvoort hosted the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix between 1950 and 1985, even though the event was not held every year.

The race fell off the calendar in 1972. Due to the drivers who refused to race there. There was a huge push to improve safety at Formula 1 events, following the fatal accident of Piers Courage at Zandvoort in 1970. The circuit owners lacked the resources to improve safety. The event was later on removed from the calendar.

Formula 1 returned to a much-improved Zandvoort. Unfortunately, another tragedy occurred when Roger Williamson was killed. The Englishmen crashed resulting in his car catching fire, sadly trapping the young driver. Fellow F1 driver and friend David Purley stopped on track and tried to rescue Williamson. However, there was little he could do while the car was engulfed in flames.

Nevertheless, Formula 1 continued to visit the track until 1985, when the company that owned the circuit ceased operations.

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The return of the Dutch Grand Prix 

The Dutch Grand Prix was scheduled to return in 2020 after a 35-year absence, thanks to the huge local support for Dutch driver Max Verstappen. However, it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was eventually rescheduled for September 2021.

Although the venue was at two-thirds capacity due to the pandemic, the grandstands were filled with a sea of orange as Verstappen’s fans were in full force. It’s safe to say that after 36 years of waiting, the race was worth it as the Red Bull driver won on home soil. The next year Verstappen once again delighted the home fans with a second consecutive victory at Zandvoort.

Zandvoort returned to the calendar with a three-year contract. The owners then signed a two-year contract extension contract in December 2022. With the new contract, the Dutch Grand Prix will remain on the Formula 1 calendar until at least 2025.

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10 Interesting facts about the Dutch Grand Prix

  • The creation of the track is incorrectly attributed to track designer John Hugenholtz, who designed the Suzuka circuit. However, it was designed by a group of Dutch motorcycle enthusiasts with the help of Sammy Davis, who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1927. 
  • Jim Clark holds the record for the most wins at the Dutch Grand Prix victories. The legendary Scotsman won at Zandvoort in 1963, 1964, 1965, and 1967.
  • Max Verstappen gave the Netherlands its first home winner at the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix, making it the twelfth country to have a winner in Formula 1. It was the first time a new country has joined this particular list since Fernando Alonso won his home race for the first time at the 2006 Spanish Grand Prix. 
  • Jim Clark has led the most laps out of any driver at Zandvoort, leading 370 laps. Alberto Ascari and Niki Lauda are second on the all-time list, having led 180 laps – almost 200 less than Clark.
  • In 1985 Niki Lauda took the last victory of his Formula 1 career in the last Dutch Grand Prix until 2021.
  • At the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix, Jackie Stewart took his 26th win. In doing so he surpassed fellow Scot Jim Clark’s record of F1 wins. Stewart would win one more race in his career, and his tally of 27 wins would stand as the record until Alain Prost surpassed it in 1987.
  • The 1973 Dutch Grand Prix is also remembered for the terrible accident that killed Roger Williamson. David Purely was awarded the George Medal for bravery after attempting to rescue Williamson from his burning car.
  • Graham Hill took the first podium finish of his career at the 1960 Dutch Grand Prix.
  • Max Verstappen holds the record for the most points scored at the Dutch Grand Prix with 51 points.
  • In the 32 F1 races to date, 54 different drivers have stood on the podium at Zandvoort.