F1 2022 Dutch Grand Prix: Max Verstappen thrills fans 

ZANDVOORT, Netherlands, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Dutch Grand Prix organizers said they were confident their race would remain part of Formula One in the years to come,

as the 'Orange Army' of Max Verstappen fans filled the stands early on Sunday in anticipation of another win for the local hero. 

"Formula One often says we stand out as an example for how a Grand Prix should be organized", race promoter and former Formula One driver Jan Lammers told Reuters.

"They are happy with us, we are happy with the event we can put together. So far, so good."

The massive popularity of 24-year-old Verstappen brought Formula One back to Zandvoort last year, 

36 years after the Dutch Grand Prix was scrapped as there was no money to modernize the outdated tracks in the dunes near Amsterdam.

But the meteoric rise of Verstappen, the youngest ever Grand Prix winner and first Dutch world champion helped secured the funds to completely renew the tracks at Zandvoort, 

which is now a 4.25km (2.6 miles) swerving lap marked by two banked curves that have quickly become a race drivers' favorite. 

Apart from banking on Max mania, Zandvoort has tried to distinguish itself by making all attendants come to the tiny beach village by public transport or bike and by creating a festival-like atmosphere at the tracks with many musical performances surrounding the races.

"Other tracks might offer more financially," Lammers said. "But the value they add to Formula One is questionable. 

We offer so much value in terms of sustainability, smart mobility, and entertainment."

Zandvoort has another year to go on its initial three-year deal with Formula One, with an option for at least two more races in 2024 and 2025.

Organizers in November will decide if they have the means to take on that option, which will largely depend on the willingness of local corporate sponsors to stay on as the race is organized without any government support.

Any decision to quit will not be for a lack of popular support, as more than 300,000 tickets available for this weekend sold out months ago and will easily sell again for the 2023 edition, organizers said before the weekend.

As Verstappen continued to thrill his fans by following up last year's victory with pole position for Sunday's race, the prospects for Zandvoort look bright, Lammers said.  

next story

Bryce’s Bets: F1's Dutch Grand Prix