F1 returning to the Netherlands in 2020 with Heineken as race sponsor
Formula 1 has today concluded a three-year deal for the Netherlands to host an annual grand prix starting in 2020, with the Zandvoort circuit to stage its first round in 35 seasons.
Heineken, already a global partner of Formula 1 (since 2016), has agreed to be the event's title sponsor (it already sponsors the Chinese, Italian and Brazilian rounds), and the 2020 Dutch Grand Prix is expected to be held over the weekend of 8 to 10 May, in a slot currently filled by the Spanish round.
The sport is looking to capitalise on the popularity of Dutch star Max Verstappen, the 21-year driver of the Red Bull Racing team who won two races in 2018, and is third in the drivers' championship this year.
Christian Horner, the team principal of Red Bull, said today: "I think a Dutch Grand Prix, with the popularity of Verstappen, is going to be immense."
Zandvoort, a coastal resort not far from Amsterdam, previously staged a Dutch round of the Formula 1 World Championship from 1952 to 1985.
This is the second new race deal concluded solely by Liberty Media, the US media giant, since it took control of the sport at the start of 2017.
Chase Carey, chairman and chief executive of Formula 1, said: “We are particularly pleased to announce that Formula 1 is returning to race in the Netherlands, at the Zandvoort track. From the beginning of our tenure in Formula 1, we said we wanted to race in new venues, while also respecting the sport’s historic roots in Europe.”
Liberty has already secured a deal for a new street race in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2020. The French Grand Prix returned in 2018, after a 10-year absence, but that deal was hatched by fromer promoter Bernie Ecclestone prior to his departure.
If no races are axed then there is the prospect of a record 23 Formula 1 rounds next year. This comes at a time when the teams are thought to want to keep the schedule at 21 or potentially fewer.
The contracts of the British, German, Italian, Mexican and Spanish rounds all expire this year, and there are reports that up to three could drop off the schedule.
Liberty Media has also been working on plans to take rounds to Miami and Las Vegas, as it seeks a second US round on top of the country's established grand prix in Austin, Texas.