A Formula One event in the Netherlands could be held more easily at Moto GP venue Assen rather than the former Dutch Grand Prix venue Zandvoort. The rising popularity of Max Verstappen makes a race in the Netherlands an obvious target for F1. A large contingent of Verstappen fans attended last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, which he won.
FIA race director Charlie Whiting, who made his first visit to the Assen circuit earlier this year, believes the track configuration would suit F1.
“From my perspective with minor modifications it would be a nice track for Formula 1,” he told media including RaceFans in Austria. “I believe the location’s good as well. But that’s all I know, I don’t know whether there’s any commercial negotiations. From a track perspective only, yes, it could be OK.”
Assen is predominantly used for motorbike racing but has held some high-level motorsport. Former F1 driver Justin Wilson won a one-off Champ Car race at the track in 2006.
F1 last raced at Zandvoort in 1985 but the track has been significantly altered since then. Whiting indicated Assen would require less work to become F1-ready.
“We haven’t done any simulations on Zandvoort [so] it’s a little premature to say,” said Whiting. “I think it would be a great track. I’m not sure yet without the simulations exactly how much work would be necessary. But of the two at present I would say Assen would need very little work,” he added.
During last weekend’s Moto GP race at Assen champions Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo expressed concern that F1 could race at a circuit which is synonymous with bike racing. The high downforce produced by F1 cars can creates bumps which bikes cannot ride well.
However reigning Moto GP champion Marc Marquez, who tested a Formula 1 car at the Red Bull Ring earlier this year, was more enthusiastic about the idea.
“Formula One would be very, very fast here,” he said. “There are many fast corners and maybe the lap time would only be one minute, because they are so fast. But always it’s good when Formula One is interested about circuits like Assen. For the bikes this means we would have some bumps, but it’s not a big problem.”