Formula One

Dutch GP track layout, turns and DRS zones analysed

F1 is finally back from its summer break. The series visits the iconic Circuit Zandvoort for this weekend’s race. Join us for a tour of the Dutch GP layout, and make sure to also check out our F1 predictions and the odds for the weekend.

F1 Dutch GP Layout Circuit Zandvoort
Circuit atmosphere – start / finish straight. 24.08.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, Netherlands, Preparation Day. –, EMail: [email protected] © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images – Photo by Icon sport

Dutch GP layout: a fast and flowing roller coaster

Zandvoort is one of the shortest tracks in the schedule, at just under 4.3 km and 14 turns. The Dutch GP layout is fast, with plenty of elevation changes and banked corners. Zandvoort is also the closest F1 circuit to sea level, the highest point listed at just 15m above sea level. Not only that, but Zandvoort is also extremely close to the sea, which means that sand from the nearby dunes often finds its way on the track. Grip is always at a premium around the Dutch GP layout, making it even more challenging.

Drivers start the lap down the long main straight before braking hard for Tarzan, a slightly banked, medium speed and wide radius corner. Right after Tarzan comes a tiny kink to the left that drivers take flat out before lightly tapping the brakes for Gerlach – a fast right-hander.

There is no time to rest, as the cars exit Gerlach straight into Hugenholtz, named after the circuit’s legendary director. The remodeled corner, which was redesigned for the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix, features an impressive 19-degree progressive banking, allowing drivers to take multiple lines and offering a good chance to overtake.

From Hugenholt, drivers continue flat out up the turns 4-6 complex. The Hunserug and Slotemaker section features an 8.9m difference in elevation, making these uphill esses one of the most iconic parts of Zandvoort. Next comes a major drop in elevation as drivers take Scheivlak, a fast and almost flat out right-hander.

After Scheivlak comes another fast right-hander, Masters, which only requires a light tap on the brakes. A good exit is key, as turn 9 comes right after. This time around, drivers must step hard on the brakes to take the slow right-hander. Drivers exit turn 9 and immediately set up their line for turn 10, a wide radius and very slow left-hander. Nailing turn 10 is crucial, as it leads to the long backstraight. At the end of the backstraight comes another prime overtaking opportunity: the Hans Ernst esses, a left-right downhill sequence that requires drivers to slam the brakes.

The cars must carry as much speed as possible for the final sequence of corners. Following a short straight, drivers only step off the throttle briefly to take the Kumho corner, a banked and very fast right-hander. It’s all flat out from here on, which means that nailing Kumho is absolutely vital. The final corner is the heavily banked Arie Luyendyk, named after the legendary Flying Dutchman, a two-time Indy 500 winner. The 18-degree turn is taken flat out, leading back to the main straight to complete a lap around Zandvoort.

Circuit Zandvoort DRS zones:

Zandvoort has two DRS zones. The first one is located on the backstraight, between turn 10 and the Hans Ernst esses. The detection point is located on the entry to turn 10. This is a prime overtaking spot, as the heavy braking into the esses offers a good chance for the chasing car. However, the leading car can defend around the outside, which then becomes the inside for the second part of the esses.

The second Zandvoort DRS zone is located on the Arie Luyendyk corner, and continues all the way down the long main straight. Combined with the tow from the leading car, this DRS zone makes the braking zone Tarzan into the best overtaking spot around Zandvoort.

Zandvoort racing history

1952Alberto AscariAlberto Ascari
1953Alberto AscariAlberto Ascari
1955Juan Manuel FangioJuan Manuel Fangio
1958Stuart Lewis-EvansStirling Moss
1959Jo BonnierJo Bonnier
1960Stirling MossJack Brabham
1961Phil HillWolfgang von Trips
1962John SurteesGraham Hill
1963Jim ClarkJim Clark
1964Dan GurneyJim Clark
1965Graham HillJim Clark
1966Jack BrabhamJack Brabham
1967Graham HillJim Clark
1968Chris AmonJackie Stewart
1969Jochen RindtJackie Stewart
1970Jochen RindtJochen Rindt
1971Jacky IckxJacky Ickx
1973Ronnie PetersonJackie Stewart
1974Niki LaudaNiki Lauda
1975Niki LaudaJames Hunt
1976Ronnie PetersonJames Hunt
1977Mario AndrettiNiki Lauda
1978Mario AndrettiMario Andretti
1979Rene ArnouxAlan Jones
1980Rene ArnouxNelson Piquet
1981Alain ProstAlain Prost
1982Rene ArnouxDidier Pironi
1983Nelson PiquetRene Arnoux
1984Alain ProstAlain Prost
1985Nelson PiquetNiki Lauda
2021Max VerstappenMax Verstappen
2022Max VerstappenMax Verstappen

Zandvoort was a staple in the F1 schedule from the 1950s all the way to the late 1980s. But Zandvoort’s parent company went under in 1985, and the circuit was closed as a result. Part of the old circuit was sold to real estate companies, and the track was then redesigned to its current layout. The final race was a historical one, however, as McLaren teammates Niki Lauda and Alain Prost fought hard for the win. Lauda was able to hold off his 1984 title rival, who was also the defending Dutch GP winner, to secure his 25th and final F1 victory – taking the checkered by just over two tenths from Prost.

Following a nearly three-decade absence, Zandvoort returned to the F1 schedule in 2021. With the series growing in popularity around the Netherlands thanks to Max Verstappen’s success, the return was imminent. And, much to the Dutch crowd’s delight, Verstappen went on to dominate the two races at Zandvoort.

In 2021, the home driver scored pole and never looked back, winning comfortably from title rival Lewis Hamilton to snatch the points lead.

Verstappen had to work a lot harder in last year’s Dutch GP: after starting from pole again and dominating the early proceedings, the reigning champion saw his lead come under threat from Mercedes, which had been running an alternate strategy. But a late Safety Car intervention handed control of the race back to Verstappen. After pitting for new tyres, the Red Bull driver had to restart second. But Verstappen made short work of Hamilton, who was running on much older rubber, and went on to score back-to-back wins at his home race.

What lies ahead for 2023

Verstappen is the favorite to go back-to-back-to-back at his home Grand Prix. Zandvoort’s high speed, downforce-dependent layout makes it a perfect fit for Red Bull’s all-conquering RB19.

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