Right, let’s try again, shall we?
After the anticlimactic Belgian Grand Prix, we’ve travelled 300 km up the road to Zandvoort for this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix – the first in 36 years. Driver and machine are set to be properly tested by a combination of narrow, high-speed corners and banking – yes, you heard that right, banking. Like Spa, Zandvoort is a beguiling circuit and, like Spa, it can really bite if you put a wheel wrong.
To get you ready for our return to the Netherlands, keep scrolling for our latest race preview. It’s packed with the thoughts of McLaren F1 drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, and Team Principal Andreas Seidl ahead of this weekend, and lots more.
How to follow
|When||4 - 5 September|
|Start time||15:00 local, 14:00 BST, 09:00 EDT|
|Follow||TEAMStream and the McLaren App for exclusive commentary and insight|
What they say
"After a disappointing weekend in Belgium, I’m looking forward to heading back to track this weekend and hopefully putting on more of a show for the fans. Zandvoort is a cool circuit and one that I've raced — and won — at before, back in 2017 in Formula 3. The track has changed quite a bit since then, with new banking, which could change how the race plays out. I’ve actually been back to the UK this week to drive the circuit in the simulator, so that we’re ready to hit the ground running when we get out on track on Friday.”
"Last weekend wasn’t how I expected to celebrate my 200th GP, and it’s a real shame the fans didn’t get to see a proper race. Luckily, that doesn’t happen very often in F1, and we’re right back at it at Zandvoort this weekend. It’s been a while since I've been there, and I'm actually really excited to go back. The fans there are very enthusiastic, and I feel a lot of Dutch support. Hopefully we can take the positive momentum from qualifying in Spa forward and score some decent points.”
“The Belgian Grand Prix was an odd weekend for many reasons, and it was a real shame the fans didn’t get to see a proper race. Thankfully we get to go racing again right away with F1’s return to Zandvoort for the first time since the ‘80s. It will be an interesting challenge for the team and drivers, as the cars have changed so significantly since then, while the overall layout of the circuit remains relatively similar. The tight and twisty characteristics with increased overtaking difficulty will dictate how we tackle this new challenge, and what to prioritise in terms of set-up and work programmes during the free practice sessions. Like Monaco, qualifying will go a long way to determining the finishing positions on Sunday.
“As we head into the second race of this triple-header, both factory and trackside teams are working flat-out to give us the best chance of scoring good points, which is so vital as we battle for third in the Constructors’ Championship. Back in Woking, the team is working hard to keep us well stocked with spares, and the trackside team, alongside our HPP colleagues, is putting in incredible effort to ensure the cars are in the best possible racing condition. The entire team is very aware of how close this championship fight is, and everyone is doing their bit to help us perform. Hopefully this weekend we can see some proper action, and secure a good haul of points.”
What the stats say
Despite its long absence, Zandvoort has hosted 30 Formula 1 grands prix in total – the first in 1952. Of those 30 races, we’ve been victorious on three occasions: in ’76, ’84 and ’85 with James Hunt, Alain Prost and Niki Lauda respectively. Lauda’s win would prove to be his 25th and last in F1. In the same race, team-mate Prost set the official race lap record with a time of 1m16.538s. It’s a record that’s likely to be beaten this weekend.
Although it’s been off the calendar for more than three decades, Zandvoort is not a complete unknown to Lando and Daniel. Lando completed three races here in 2017 in Formula 3. He never finished off the podium and was the victor on two occasions. Meanwhile, Daniel completed some demonstration runs at the circuit when he was driving for Red Bull.
What to watch out for
Orange. Lots of orange. It’s a colour that is inextricably linked with both McLaren and the Netherlands. It’s part of our heritage. In the case of McLaren, it can be traced back to our founder Bruce McLaren, while it’s also the colour of the Dutch royal family – their ancestor William of Orange was the country’s founding father. Whether this affinity with the colour automatically makes anyone from the Netherlands a McLaren fan we’re not quite sure – we figure Max Verstappen might have a thing or two to say about that – but that doesn’t mean we’re not looking forward to seeing a sea of orange in the stands this weekend.
A stone’s throw away from the beach, Zandvoort boasts fast, sweeping and narrow turns, such as the Tarzan hairpin and Scheivlak. Oh, and did we mention the banking? Yeah, there’s that too. Although the circuit has been tweaked a little to bring it up to current F1 standards, its famous banked final corner remains. In fact, it’s been increased to 18 degrees – approximately double that of the banking at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With a short pit-lane, teams are likely to be more inclined to adopt multiple-stop strategies, and the narrow width of the track could potentially make overtaking difficult so gaining positions via pit-stops could be key.
Even though we’re only just past the halfway stage of the season, attention is turning towards 2022 and the huge regulation changes. Teams are reducing the developments they’re bringing their ’21 cars and we’re no different. The remaining developments you’re likely to see will be tweaks rather than sizeable changes, just like the small upgrades around the brake ducts we introduced at the Belgian Grand Prix last week.
What to wear
So, you know how we told you we would be restocking the McLaren x Gulf Collection in last week’s preview for the Belgian Grand Prix? Well, this week it’s actually happening. And by this week, we mean today! Head over to the McLaren Store now to pre-order some of the most sought-after merch we’ve ever released.
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