Regardless of where a Dutch Grand Prix could potentially take place in the future, the event won’t receive any government financial support.
Thanks in no small part to Max Verstappen’s status and popularity, both Zandvoort and Assen are fighting to bring Formula 1 back to Holland, with the former apparently holding an exclusive agreement to host a Grand Prix that expires at the end of March.
Last year, Zandvoort concluded a feasibility study that estimated the costs of bringing F1 back to its dunes to approximately 40 million euros, with part of that amount subsidized by the state, following a business model that is wide-spread in F1.
But Bruno Bruins, the Netherlands’ minister for medical care and sports, has all but shot down Zandvoort’s hopes of securing state funding despite the event’s potential positive economic impact.
“The question is whether this justifies the use of tax resources from the government,” Bruins wrote in a report addressed to the House of Representatives, according to De Telegraaf.
“The government is of the opinion that this is not the case.”
Bruins – who insisted that the Dutch government would support the permitting necessary to help Zandvoort with its F1 plans – argued that F1’s rights are “in the hands of an American-listed company”.
Therefore said Bruins, a government contribution is “neither necessary nor justified”, as many large Dutch companies have expressed an interest in supporting a Dutch GP effort.
The Minister also said that financially supporting an annual event such as an F1 race would fall outside the country’s preferred policy of earmarking funding for one-off events, such as the European Athletics Championship, the World Skating Championships or the first stage of the Tour de France.
Bruins indicated that money made available to sports should in priority serve to promote sports and physical exercise programmes for children.
While Zandvoort has taken note of the government’s stance and will pursue its efforts to secure the event, rival Assen is keeping alive its own dreams of hosting an F1 race.
“We’re keeping our spirits up and we’re definitely still in the race to host Formula 1 in 2020,” said Assen promoter Lee Van Dam.
“We had a contact with the FOM last week and we will soon be at the table again. They are so straight-forward, if we were no longer a party [to the discussions], they would have told us.”