Holding Zandvoort F1 race behind closed doors "unthinkable"

Jan Lammers, sporting director of the Dutch Grand Prix, says that the option of holding Zandvoort's first race back on the Formula 1 calendar behind closed doors is "unthinkable"

Holding Zandvoort F1 race behind closed doors "unthinkable"

Formula 1 was set to return to Zandvoort next month for the first time since 1985, but the grand prix is one of many motorsport events that have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal was the latest F1 race to be officially postponed, making the French Grand Prix on June 28 the provisional curtain-raiser of the 2020 Formula 1 season.

F1 sporting director Ross Brawn has suggested that as many as 19 grands prix could still take place in 2020 if some of them can be held behind closed doors, and the Bahrain Grand Prix was due to run without spectators before it was called off.

But not all grand prix organisers seem keen on the idea to run a race without any fans in attendance, and Lammers has said that the Dutch GP organisers would rather delay the event until 2021 than host a race behind closed doors.

"[A race without fans] is an unthinkable scenario," Lammers told Autosport. "If you have a race, is has to be without compromise. You have to be able to celebrate.

"For us it's about the return of Formula 1 after 35 years. That should be a great party that you want to celebrate with everyone."

Lammers conceded that Zandvoort would have to reconsider its point of view if a formal request was made by Formula 1, but so far that has not yet happened.

"If we're being asked that question, we will have seriously think about it," he admitted.

"A race without fans is not something we want to think about until we're being asked that question.

"Fortunately that hasn't happened yet. As far as we're concerned though, it's just not possible."

Lammers agreed the sport is having to strike a difficult balance to safeguard its future while prioritising the health of its paddock and spectators, and he applauded the sport for exploring all options.

"We can't forget that the FIA and FOM are facing an incredible task.

They are trying to save as much as they can; teams, promotors, sponsors.

"They are all doing what you can expect from them, they are thinking about all scenarios. It's a good thing."

"We can only hope that we'll get a green light soon and that we'll quickly have a grand prix again.

"Because that would mean that the virus is a little bit under control, and that's the most important thing in all of this."

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Series Formula 1
Author Filip Cleeren
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