For the primary time in 36 years, the Method 1 circus has descended on Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix, albeit 17 months later than deliberate owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
The seaside venue has a historical past stretching proper again to the start of F1 and has hosted some nice races, titanic struggles and high quality moments. It has had its tragedies too, most notably the deaths of Piers Braveness and Roger Williamson within the 1970 and 1973 Dutch GPs respectively.
As Max Verstappen prepares to turn into the primary Dutch driver to carry out in entrance of his house crowds since Huub Rothengatter in 1985, we glance again over Zandvoort and its biggest moments.
Work on Zandvoort started throughout World Warfare Two, and the British Racing Drivers’ Membership organised the primary assembly on 7 August 1948. Prince Bira’s Maserati gained the Zandvoort GP by simply 0.1 seconds from the Alfa Romeo of Tony Rolt, and the next yr’s occasion attracted a powerful discipline that included manufacturing facility Ferraris.
Maybe the best contest earlier than Zandvoort joined the world championship calendar got here in 1950, with the large race now named the Dutch GP. The pacesetting Alfa Romeos weren’t entered, however an Italian victory nonetheless regarded seemingly, with Juan Manuel Fangio and Froilan Gonzalez each current in Maseratis.
French ace Raymond Sommer nonetheless took pole in his Talbot-Lago and repassed Fangio, who was combating suspension points, within the early phases. Sommer’s clutch ultimately failed him, however nonetheless there was a shock as Louis Rosier – victor of the Le Mans 24 Hours a month earlier than – got here via to win the 90-lap contest, beating the Ferraris of Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari by over a minute in his Talbot-Lago.
1. BRM’s breakthrough – 1959
The Dutch GP turned a part of the world championship in 1952, and for the following few years – other than 1954, 1956 and 1957 when the race was not held – domination was the secret. Ascari led each lap in 1952 and 1953 for Ferrari; the Fangio-Stirling Moss Mercedes ‘Prepare’ left the remaining behind in 1955; and Moss thrashed the opposition for Vanwall in 1958.
Bonnier’s high quality effort regarded like it will go unrewarded when Moss took the lead, however the Rob Walker-run Cooper then succumbed to gearbox failure, leaving Bonnier to take his solely world championship F1 victory
The 1959 Dutch GP, nevertheless, was completely different. For practically a decade BRM had been one thing of a catastrophe. Initially all of the hopes of the British (motorsport) business had rested with British Racing Motors, however the failure of the overly difficult V16 and fragility of the promising P25 had lengthy since resulted within the endeavour being labelled a shambles.
The group persevered below Alfred Owen, and the Tony Rudd-designed automobile, which had first appeared in 1955, lastly got here good in 1959. An excessive amount of testing preceded Jo Bonnier’s Zandvoort pole place, and the Swede battled the Coopers of first Masten Gregory after which Jack Brabham, gaining the benefit when every developed gearbox points.
Bonnier’s high quality effort regarded like it will go unrewarded when Moss took the lead on lap 60 of 75, however the Rob Walker-run Cooper then succumbed to gearbox failure, leaving Bonnier to take his solely world championship F1 victory. It was additionally the primary of BRM’s 17 wins; three years later it will win the drivers’ and constructors’ titles.
2. Two new eras start – 1967 and 1968
Jim Clark and Lotus had a sure affinity with Zandvoort. The revolutionary monocoque Lotus 25 had made its debut within the 1962 Dutch GP, and Clark scored a hat-trick from 1963 to 1965. He additionally put in certainly one of his biggest drives, with two-litre Climax energy in opposition to the three-litre Brabham Repcos, in 1966, however it’s the next yr’s race that has probably the most significance.
The debut of the Ford Cosworth DFV in all probability stands as Zandvoort’s most vital second. Colin Chapman’s Lotus 49, designed to make use of the DFV as a burdened member, had unique use of the powerplant in 1967, and Graham Hill took pole by half a second on the automobile’s debut.
He led earlier than retiring with a damaged camshaft drive, however team-mate Clark – who had suffered a troubled observe and began eighth – had already climbed to fourth and now inherited third place. He continued his cost and, on lap 16 of 90, overtook Brabham for the lead. Clark then nursed the brand new automobile to a 23.6s victory, the primary of 155 world championship GP wins for the DFV and its derivatives.
The next yr’s Dutch GP may be thought to be the beginning of a brand new period. Benchmark driver Clark had been killed in a Method 2 race at Hockenheim lower than three months earlier than spherical 5 of the championship, leaving a vacuum on the prime of the game.
Jackie Stewart, who had missed two of the three intervening GPs as a result of harm, indicated that he can be the person to take over on the prime with an outstanding victory at a moist Zandvoort.
The Scot certified down in fifth in his DFV-powered Matra, however took the lead on lap 4. On a day when the Dunlop runners had a bonus, Stewart rapidly pulled away.
Solely Jean-Pierre Beltoise (V12 Matra) may get anyplace close to his occasions however, nearly as quickly as he acquired into second, he went off, pitted to have his throttle slides checked, and needed to do all of it once more. He did, however nonetheless completed a minute and a half behind a cruising Stewart.
3. Duel of the rainmasters – 1971
Except for Stewart, the opposite two rainmasters of the time have been Jacky Ickx and Pedro Rodriguez. And so they offered the uncommon sight of a race-long wet-weather battle within the 1971 GP. Firestone-shod automobiles dominated this time, and Ickx’s Ferrari and the BRM of Rodriguez proved to be the category of the sphere.
Ickx grabbed the lead again on lap 30 of 70, Rodriguez retaliated in site visitors the following time round, after which the Ferrari moved forward as soon as extra on lap 32
The duo proved extremely shut in dry qualifying, Ickx taking pole by simply 0.04 seconds, and the Ferrari maintained its lead in the beginning as they rapidly pulled clear. After two laps, third man Stewart – combating inferior Goodyear rubber and braking points on his Tyrrell – was practically 9 seconds behind Rodriguez.
On lap 9, the leaders came across an incident involving Francois Cevert and Nanni Galli at Tarzan, and Rodriguez took the chance to grab the lead. The BRM pulled away over the following few laps, at one stage constructing a bonus of over eight seconds, however then Ickx began to shut the hole, the Ferrari pulling higher out of the slower corners because the circuit dried.
Ickx grabbed the lead again on lap 30 of 70, Rodriguez retaliated in site visitors the following time round, after which the Ferrari moved forward as soon as extra on lap 32. “It was all actual Method 1 racing, and the damp crowd cherished it,” reported Autosport’s Patrick McNally.
Ickx began to tug away, although he tended to be extra cautious in site visitors than his pursuer, Rodriguez maintaining the stress. With 11 laps to go, Ickx was 15.6s forward however – with oil down – the Ferrari driver was extra cautious within the closing phases than Rodriguez, who was solely eight seconds behind on the flag.
Everybody else was lapped.
4. Hunt’s breakthrough – 1975
Niki Lauda and Ferrari have been on high quality kind when F1 arrived for the 1975 Dutch GP, having gained the earlier three rounds. That pattern appeared set to proceed when Lauda took pole, with team-mate Clay Regazzoni alongside, however extra North Sea rain on race day offered a possibility for others to shine.
James Hunt’s Hesketh had managed to guide the extremely tight DFV-powered brigade in observe, and he ran fourth within the early phases as Lauda led. Hunt had beforehand observed that slick tyres labored higher on a drying observe than most thought, and he was one of many first to eliminate his grooved rubber.
“Lauda and a lot of the discipline stopped a very good bit later than me,” mentioned Hunt years later, when deciding on the drive because the race of his life. “As soon as forward, I gave it every little thing.
“By the point Jean-Pierre Jarier and Lauda acquired their tyres sizzling and acquired used to the observe situations, I had a 10-second lead. From then on they have been slowly catching me as a result of the Hesketh was not a totally aggressive automobile.”
As soon as Lauda had lastly acquired away from Jarier’s Shadow he closed on Hunt and, for the ultimate third of the race, utilized stress to the chief. However Hunt, on a dry set-up in comparison with Lauda’s compromised 312T, held agency to win by a second.
Hunt felt it was a key drive that ended his weak point of constructing errors whereas main: “That was the completion of my coaching as an F1 driver. It enabled me to win the 1976 championship, at my first and solely probability in a aggressive automobile, below most stress.”
5. Villeneuve misses the purpose – 1979
Gilles Villeneuve is thought to be one of many most interesting F1 drivers by no means to win the world title, and his 1979 Dutch GP drive maybe showcased the perfect and worst traits of the Ferrari driver.
Villeneuve made a sometimes fast getaway to leap from sixth to second, and chased the Williams of Alan Jones within the early laps. He then pulled off an outstanding cross at Tarzan, getting alongside below braking after which going all the way in which across the outdoors to finish the transfer.
Had he pitted for contemporary rubber, Villeneuve would have completed at the very least in third place, probably second – as an alternative, his dramas put Scheckter right into a place that enabled him to clinch the title
He edged away, however then picked up a sluggish puncture and Jones closed again in. Villeneuve then spun on the new high-speed chicane, brilliantly holding the automobile out of the obstacles however dropping the lead. If his sluggish puncture had not been obvious earlier than, certainly it will have been now, however he pressed on – and suffered a left-rear tyre failure a lap and a half later at Tarzan.
The picture of Villeneuve three-wheeling (or, at occasions, two-wheeling) turned iconic, however the entire saga value him any probability of a factors end. Had he pitted for contemporary rubber he would have completed at the very least in third place, probably second.
In contrast, Villeneuve’s Ferrari team-mate and fellow title contender Jody Scheckter drove certainly one of his nice races after struggling an overheating clutch in the beginning. He moved apart to keep away from getting hit, dropping to the again of the sphere.
Scheckter then acquired the automobile going, nursed it by not utilizing the clutch for the primary couple of laps, after which started a cost. After 10 laps he was sixth, and he pulled a transfer on Didier Pironi’s Tyrrell at Tarzan that was similar to Villeneuve’s cross on Jones.
He then simply overcame Keke Rosberg’s Wolf, and inherited third when Jean-Pierre Jabouille’s Renault retired with clutch issues.
“I used to be getting out of form, performing some fairly formidable outbraking strikes in my decided efforts,” mentioned Scheckter.
Villeneuve’s dramas allowed Scheckter to take second, placing him ready that enabled him to clinch the title – with Villeneuve’s assist – subsequent trip within the Italian GP at Monza.
6. Lauda’s final victory – 1985
By 1985, ‘noise air pollution’ was changing into a problem and the circuit was trying slightly the more serious for put on, however nonetheless it offered some good racing. That was proved by the battle between McLaren team-mates Lauda and Alain Prost.
Tim Wright was Prost’s engineer and he takes up the story: “This was the eleventh race on the calendar and we got here to the race combating for each drivers’ and constructors’ championships. Prost had simply gained the earlier race in Austria to place himself equal on factors with Michele Alboreto in his Ferrari, so we have been hoping the pattern would proceed.
“Lauda had not loved a lot success up till this race, solely scoring factors in two races, though he had confirmed that he was nonetheless up for the struggle in Austria, the place he led Prost for 14 laps earlier than once more struggling an engine drawback.
“As standard, Goodyear had introduced the 2 compounds of tyre – the B and C – for the race and, though the observe was notoriously abrasive, we have been assured that, because the McLaren was type on its tyres, we may get away with operating the softer C compound.
“Each drivers suffered low energy throughout qualifying, Prost having a malfunctioning pop-off valve to depart him third on the grid, with Lauda again in tenth because it transpired he solely had 5 of the six Porsche/TAG cylinders working correctly.
“Throughout the yr we had quite a few issues with pop-off valves, as they have been below the management of the FIA, however have been completely inconsistent of their calibration and efficiency. It was a daily journey to their workplaces to have valves changed.
“Pole place was taken by Nelson Piquet in his Brabham, with Keke Rosberg second within the Williams, however we have been happy to see the Ferraris struggling on the bumpy floor and had solely managed sixteenth and seventeenth.
“The engine issues have been sorted out for the warm-up on the Sunday morning and this was a pointer for what was to occur come the race, as Niki was quickest forward of Prost. Piquet induced a little bit of confusion in the beginning when he stalled the Brabham, with the outcome that Rosberg made a clear break, adopted by Ayrton Senna within the Lotus, then Teo Fabi within the Toleman who had appeared from nowhere.
“Niki had made a fantastic begin and was proper behind Prost in fifth place and had determined that he would push his tyres onerous on full tanks and cease earlier. As at all times, Prost was in a position to take care of his tyres higher in a race state of affairs and would go nearly to half race distance.
Proper on cue, Alain got here in for his pitstop on lap 34, however he was stationary for 18s as a wheelnut refused to return off. By the point he was again on observe, he discovered himself behind each Senna and Niki
“He disposed of Fabi and Senna after a number of laps and, when Rosberg retired with an engine failure, he assumed the lead and issues have been trying good. Simply earlier than this, Niki had made his pitstop for contemporary rubber, and he steadily made his approach again via the pack as others fell by the wayside; he was quickly as much as second place behind Prost.
“Proper on cue, Alain got here in for his pitstop on lap 34 of 70, however issues then went awry as he was stationary for 18s as a wheelnut refused to return off. By the point he was again on observe he discovered himself behind each Senna and Niki.
“There then adopted an epic race between each our automobiles as Alain, as soon as previous Senna, set about catching Niki, setting quickest lap after quickest lap, decreasing the hole between them, till they have been nostril to tail. We had by no means mentioned group orders and so there have been no radio conversations as we allow them to struggle it out.
“The final 10 laps have been nerve-racking for us on the pitwall, however the two drivers placed on a magical present, with Niki resisting any transfer that Alain made, their mutual respect displaying simply why they have been each world champions, though at this level Alain had nonetheless not realised his first one!
“Niki had made his level, and nobody would begrudge him this win, however it additionally meant Alain had taken the lead within the championship, which he wouldn’t lose.”
It was a becoming approach for F1 to log off from Zandvoort, however hopefully the Dutch followers can sit up for a brand new chapter of memorable moments when racing lastly returns to regular.