The layout of the Zandvoort circuit has been changed several times. First for safety reasons, later because the construction of a resort on a part of the circuit site. This page will show you how the layout of Zandvoort was made slower, and how it lost half of the original layout.
The original layout of Zandvoort
1948 – 1972: The original layout.
The first changes to the layout of Zandvoort
The very First version of the Zandvoort race track had a very quick layout. The circuit contained almost only fast corners, some of them where full throttle, who writhed in a natural way between the sand dunes.
1973 – 1979: The Panorama Corner (Panoramabocht) replace the fast Bos In Corner.
Strengthened safety requirements made a reconstruction of one of the fastest corners necessary. The right-left combination called “Bos In” – according to Dutch racing driver Rob Slotemaker the corner that made the difference between the man and the boy – was sacrificed and changed into a chicane, the Panorama Corner. This new chicane should become populair by the fans because of the many overtaking manouvres.
1980 – 1989: The Marlboro Corner (Marlborobocht) replace the Hondenvlak Kinks.
New safety requirements lead to another reconstruction. Another chicane was built in the controversial fast section at the furthest point of the circuit, the Marlboro Corner. And again the layout of the race track became a little bit slower.
At the end of the 1979 season, Dutch racing driver Rob Slotemaker died after a crash in a very fast corner. In memoriam to him they renamed this corner, known as “Jan de Wijker zijn veld”, into Rob Slotemaker Corner. Read for more detailed information the article “Corner names Zandvoort circuit“.
The end of the old layout of Zandvoort
1989 – 1998: The interim circuit replace the old circuit.
In July 1989 the length of the circuit is reduced to 2,5 km (1.56 Mile), the so called interim circuit. It was the first phase of a plan to move the track further from the village. This was the definitive end of the original track. At the ground of the lost part of the track are now a holiday resort and a golf course.
The corner leading from the Hunserug to the new section was original called the Hunserug Corner. Later the corner was renamed into Toyota Corner after car manufacturer Toyota became a sponsor of the race track.
Zandvoort becomes a full circuit again!
1999 – today: Finally the promised extension!
After nine years of legal battle they finally started the construction of the new part of the circuit at the end of 1998. In the spring of 1999 the new circuit was opened. Fortunately, the half of the layout is still the original track.
The corner that was called Nissan Corner on the interim circuit was renamed to Audi-S in 1999. Recently they renamed the corner into Hans Ernst Corner, after the former circuit director. Today this corner is well known by the fans for spectacular overtaking action.
Exit scenario Gerlach and Hugenholtz Corner
However, there was a terrible plan to cut of the Gerlach Corner and the Hugenholtz Corner to create more space in the paddock. This plan was originally made-up for a return of Formula One, but could also be required by other series in the future. If this plan would get accomplished the old part of the track will be mutilated forever!
Not only for the los of the Gerlach Corner and Hugenholtz Corner, but for the whole sprint to the Scheivlak Corner. Now this is a fast section. A reconstruction will make this section much slower and less exciting.
In 2014 they built a thinner wal on the outside of the Hugenholtz Corner, to create space to widen up the road between Paddock 1 and 2. After this modification it seems they will not change the track in the near future…
However, with the succes of Max Verstappen the call for a Grand Prix in the Netherlands is growing. The new owner already indicated to be interested in a return of Formula One to Zandvoort.
But the FIA will certainly not be satisfied with a few minor changes to the track. Actually, a return of Formula One is now the biggest threat to the beautifull layout of Zandvoort…
Text, maps & photo: Herman Liesemeijer
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