Friday 13 December 2019

Zandvoort ‘could scrap three other races to safeguard Grand Prix’

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Zandvoort racetrack is considering scrapping other events as a concession to environmental organisations to make sure next year’s Dutch Grand Prix goes ahead, according to a report in the Volkskrant.

A source quoted in the newspaper said the circuit’s management was prepared to sacrifice three other races to ensure Formula 1 racing can return on May 3. A Dutch Grand Prix spokesman said the reports were inaccurate but would not reveal details of confidential negotiations.

Preparations for the race have been hampered by the Council of State’s nitrogen ruling in May, which requires new infrastructure and construction projects to include detailed plans to offset nitrogen emissions in compliance with EU law.

Environmental organisations are pressing for the circuit to make a number of concessions before they drop their objections to the race. They want noise pollution to be reduced on race days and electric cars introduced within five years.

‘We are not making rigid demands, but we will apply the regulations if no solution is found,’ Marc Janssen of conservation group Stichting Duinbehoud told RTL Nieuws.

The Dutch Grand Prix organisation refused to comment on the details of ongoing discussions, but said the report in the Volkskrant was inaccurate. ‘We have been having a constructive dialogue with the environmental movement for more than a year, but we have agreed not to share the contents of those talks with the wider world. We are sticking to that,’ said a spokesman.

Peripheral arrangements including the expansion of Zandvoort’s railway station and building a new access road to accommodate the anticipated 300,000 visitors could also fall foul of the nitrogen ruling.

Sports minister Bruno Bruins has said the cabinet is committed to making sure the race goes ahead despite the ruling’s implications. ‘The whole of the Netherlands is looking forward to it,’ he said.

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