They're Trying To Make The Dutch Grand Prix Less Terrible With Big Banked Turns

Zandvoort hasn’t hosted a Formula One race since 1985, but it will next year as F1 seeks to piggyback on the popularity of Max Verstappen. There were immediately a couple of problems: Some pretty serious environmental concerns and a track drivers said could be bad for racing. Zandvoort is hoping some big banked turns might help fix the latter.

The final turn will be banked twice as much as those at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, angled at 18 degrees versus Indy’s nine. Turn three will have a 32 percent bank, per ESPN, which means the top part of the track will be around five yards higher than the lowest part. Here’s Zandvoort CEO Robert van Overdijk:

“We are in fact making an American corner on an otherwise European circuit. That is absolutely unique.

“The third corner of the track will be banked as well for the F1 race. It will be made parabolic, so that two cars can get through the corner next to each other and more importantly at the same speed.

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This is all in an attempt to ensure there might be more passing at the race, since drivers had previously said that, while they love the track and all, overtaking could be a problem with modern F1 cars. Here’s what Daniel Ricciardo has said on the matter, per Motorsport:

“Full honesty here, the track to drive on is pretty awesome,” said [Ricciardo]. “It’s high speed, it’s old school, big balls. From a driving point of view, it’s fine. But how fast it is and how narrow some places are, I don’t think it would be that exciting for overtaking – just my initial feeling.

“With the speeds we go now, following another car will be very difficult. That’s my reservation with it. I think it’ll be a very processional race, otherwise the track’s cool. [...]”

The Dutch Grand Prix is next May, so they have a fair amount of time to figure things out, but that is also assuming they can get over the environmental hurdles threatening the circuit’s redevelopment and this thing happens at all.

Update, 8:08 p.m.: I confused percent with degree and have since corrected. 

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Erik Shilling

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.