A slow-motion aerial footage of any racetrack is cool enough (it gives you an entirely new perspective of a track), but this is a circuit tour with a twist. For this is Zandvoort, currently undergoing a huge renovation in order to bring it in line with current Formula 1 regulations, as it re-joins the race roster for 2020.
Video: A full aerial tour of the new Zandvoort F1 circuit
The circuit can trace its racing heritage back to 1939, when an inaugural street race was held on the 3rd June. Unfortunately the Second World War put paid to any further street events, but the communications roads built by the occupying Germans did serve as a basis for the circuit itself, which was constructed post-war, with 1927 Le Mans winner, S. C. H. ‘Sammy’ Davis advising the design.
The first race was held in August 1948, on the then 4.25km (2.64 mile) circuit, which comprised 19 corners, with the 1952 event the first to be run as a round of the World Drivers' Championship. In 1955, the first official Formula 1 race took place, followed by another in 1958, with the Dutch Grand Prix then taking place annually (bar in 1972) until 1985.
In the interim it has gone through many guises, hosting a variety of race formulas, from the A1 Grand Prix to the RTL Masters of Formula 3. But in 2018, rumours of a F1 comeback began to circulate, compounded with an official invitation from the Formula 1 organisers to the Zandvoort circuit owners to put forward a proposal for a Dutch round beginning in 2020. And that they did, followed by an official agreement signed last March.
With funding secured, it was confirmed in mid-May that Zandvoort would host the Dutch Grand Prix from 2020 for at least three years. And so it was all hands on deck to bring the historic circuit in line with current safety regs (the addition of more run-off, amongst other things), with the Municipality of Zandvoort contributing four million Euros towards the alterations, which include the creation of banking on some corners and improved supporting infrastructure and accessibility.
Construction teams have worked tirelessly since last year, ahead of the debut race on 3rd May 2020. But over the New Year, the circuit fell quiet as all renovation work stopped.
Drone pilot and Zandvoort local Jorg de Bruijn took that opportunity to take an eerie aerial view of the circuit, tracing its tarmacked curves and showing the full scale of the refurb. It’s certainly an impressive sight, and one that gets us excited for a new round in this year’s Formula 1.
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