Dutch fans calling for grand prix to be run behind closed doors
Dutch Grand Prix fans are clamouring for a behind-closed-doors Formula 1 race on television this year rather than the event being scrapped entirely.
The message has come from Jan Lammers, the sporting director of the race that was due to make its return to Zandvoort today (May 3) after a 35-year absence.
Lammers had previously rejected the idea of the race being staged without spectators but is now coming around to the possibility in light of what he is hearing from fans on social media.
Speaking to GPFans, Lammers said: "We have a few boxes to tick, and the first one is with the local authorities because running without a public would still require a few thousand people being together.
"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."
Lammers has confirmed that for any fan who purchased a ticket for the race, it will still be valid for the next grand prix at the track that is allowed to run with a public, be it later this year should the opportunity arise, or next season.
Lammers is currently in discussions with F1 bosses about a behind-closed-doors event, in particular, ensuring the promoters' fee is waived and there are no additional costs.
So as to whether it is worth running the race in such circumstances, he states that question "can only be answered by Formula 1"
"For every promoter that runs a grand prix without a public, it is almost like renting out a track, so from that point of view, it is almost like a dry rehearsal ahead of when the public is there," suggested Lammers.
"At this moment we can't really have too many preferences because it has to be appreciated the virus is ruling at the moment.
"I took notice of what Jean Todt said, that this is not a time to be full of ourselves, to be practical. That is what we are trying to do.
"We are trying to be fair and reasonable, of course, also to Formula 1, but we can't afford to have any extra costs to what we have already."
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