Verstappen & Dutch GP organisers reflective as original race date passes

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Max Verstappen and Dutch Grand Prix bosses were reflective on the day Formula 1 should have raced around the redeveloped Zandvoort.

Excitement had been building ever since the event was confirmed last summer with a million people reportedly applying for tickets to watch F1's first race in the country in 35 years.

Of course, the man responsible for it all was Verstappen, who's immense popularity basically made a Dutch GP essential on today's calendar but commenting on the delay due to the coronavirus, the Red Bull driver remained upbeat.

“We were all very much looking forward to having a home Grand Prix in the Netherlands but hopefully later in the year, or whenever it’s possible to race again, we can get that started," he said.

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Equally disappointed are two men who have been critical to getting F1 back at Zandvoort, circuit director Robert van Overdijk and Dutch GP promoter Jan Lammers,

"It could have been so beautiful", they told NOS. "A legendary weekend. How we would have liked to share this with the world.

"The whole weekend we are confronted with what could have been. That's frustrating, but we are of the half-full glass."

Indeed Overdijk noted the effort it took to get Zandvoort, a circuit deemed unsuitable for modern F1, up to the necessary Grade 1 standard.

"My view is an empty straight stretch where thirty thousand bright orange people would have been", he said. "That hurts, but I'm not going to hang a weepy story. I'll let the pride rule.

"We've heard so many times that it was hopeless to turn that old gang into a beautiful Formula 1 worthy circuit and look, we've made the impossible a reality.

"A year ago there was a refurbishment here. We have the future, but we have to wait patiently for the future to start," he concluded.

If there is to be a Dutch GP in 2020 it does now seem the sea of orange and navy blue will not be present as F1 pursues a start behind closed doors.

Previously, Lammers ruled out that idea as "unthinkable" but is coming round having seen support online.

"We have a few boxes to tick," he said on the likelihood of a race later this year.

"The first one is with the local authorities because running without a public would still require a few thousand people being together.

"The next one is that we want to be loyal to our spectators, who have responded so enthusiastically by buying all those tickets.

"Initially we thought it would be torture for them to hold a Grand Prix, and they have a ticket but can't go.

"But we've seen discussions on social media and sentiment is now developing that if you asked those fans what they would prefer, to hold a Grand Prix only watchable on television, or no Grand Prix at all, the majority would prefer a Grand Prix even if they can't be there."