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Apr.28 (GMM) “The sentiment of the public” will be part of Zandvoort’s deliberations about hosting a Formula 1 race behind closed doors later in 2020.
That is the news from Jan Lammers, a former driver who now represents the promoters of the Dutch GP.
Earlier, Lammers indicated that Zandvoort was not interested in a ‘ghost race’ without spectators, as is being planned in Austria, Silverstone and elsewhere.
But now he is more open to the idea.
“It would have to happen in early September,” Lammers told Ziggo Sport, referring to the current ban on public events in the Netherlands.
He was speaking after F1 CEO Chase Carey outlined F1’s plan to get racing again with audience-free races initially in Europe.
“If it had been said that the last race in Europe should take place no later than August 30, then it certainly would not have happened,” said Lammers.
“Now we continue to explore options in which, of course, decisions by the government will take the lead, but also the sentiment of the public.
“Are they open to a race without an audience or is postponement until next year a better option for the racing fans?” Lammers added.
“If the public is open to it, so are we.”
He indicated that the entire commercial model must change though, with Liberty Media picking up the bill because promoters cannot earn through ticket sales.
“They have the most difficult task now,” said Lammers. “They must form up a calendar with part-races where no public may be present.
“In Austria, where the season has to start now, Red Bull may still help. Certainly having the opening race like that has enormous commercial value.”
But Lammers admitted that, ultimately, it will be up to the Dutch national institute for public health.
“If it is not allowed, then it will not happen,” he said. “It must of course also fit in the agenda of the seaside resort of Zandvoort. We just have to wait and see.”