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May 29, 2020

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Dutch GP becomes 4th race canceled this season

The Dutch Formula One Grand Prix at Zandvoort has been postponed to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers said yesterday.

The race at the seaside circuit would have been a home event for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the youngest ever F1 driver and the country’s first since 1985.

The race had already been postponed from its May 3 date and the decision not to hold it this year means four of the season’s planned 22 races have now been cancelled — Australia, Monaco and France being the others.

Dutch GP sports director Jan Lammers said the possibility of holding the race behind closed doors had been looked into and dismissed as an option.

“We were completely ready for this first race and we still are,” he told the race website.

“We and Formula One have investigated the potential to hold a rescheduled race this year without spectators, but we would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula One in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands.

“We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year”.

Race organizers said that all tickets would remain valid for next year’s GP.

The race had been sold out, with demand for the 300,000 tickets vastly exceeding supply as locals clamored to see Verstappen, the only Dutch driver to win a F1 championship GP, make his home debut.

A further six remain postponed with the sport hoping to reschedule some of them in the second half of the year but yet to publish a revised calendar.

F1 hopes to start up in Austria with two races behind closed doors and in carefully controlled conditions from the weekend of July 3-5.

Meanwhile, the 10 F1 teams will be limited to a maximum 80 people each at races held without spectators when the delayed season gets going.

Revised sporting regulations published by the governing International Automobile Federation detailed the conditions for such ‘closed events’.


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